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Auburn earns passing marks in certification

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com 340-2462

Auburn University's athletics department announced Thursday it had passed its 10-year certification without any problems.

The certification process, required by the NCAA, is akin to a university's accreditation. The purpose, according to a release by Auburn, is to "ensure integrity in the institution's athletics program and to assist institutions in improving their athletic departments."

Auburn last went through the cycle in 1997.

"This is a culmination of an 18-month process that closely examined the athletics department with regards to governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity and student-athlete welfare," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said.

The passing grade comes less than year after a university professor spoke of alleged malfeasance in the sociology department, much of it involving athletes.

A subsequent university study into the allegations determined no NCAA rules were broken with regard to grade changes and no-work classes, and steps were taken to fix any problems within the department.

"The Auburn family can be very proud of our athletic department," interim AU president Ed Richardson said. "Many people have contributed to its success as evidenced by the NCAA recognition."

Auburn was one of 41 NCAA Division-IA programs that passed without any hitches. The University of Florida was the only other SEC program that went through this most recent cycle.

Five schools were certified with conditions, including the University of Houston and New Mexico State University. Jay Gogue, who in March was named Auburn's new president, presided over both schools in the past decade.

He was named New Mexico State's 20th president in 2000. He then left to become president of Houston and chancellor of the University of Houston System in 2003.

He will become Auburn's 18th president when he takes over in July.

Being certified with conditions means Houston and NMSU are certified but must correct problems found during the process.

The full certification process, "which involves a self-study led by an institution's president or chancellor, includes a review of these primary components: governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; equity; and student-athlete well-being."

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