The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletic department has submitted its recertification report to the NCAA, which since 1993 has required all Division I programs to undergo a thorough self-study once a decade.
The question now for UTC, and any other school that hasn't completed the laborious process, is whether anything will come of it. An NCAA certification review team was scheduled to visit UTC this fall, but those plans are on hold indefinitely.
NCAA president Mark Emmert has halted all recertifications that are in the works until he can take a hard look at the process. It is labor-intensive and time-consuming for all schools, especially mid-majors such as UTC that have limited resources.
"Appalachian State just finished its recertification, and it may be, for all we know, the last institution to ever finish the recertification process," UTC athletic director Rick Hart said recently. Based on some conversations he's had, Hart said, "there's a sense that the certification process as we know it will not return."
Hart said the process could definitely be improved.
"I don't think anyone is going to argue or disagree with the president's position that it should be examined," he said, "and that there is likely an inordinate and unnecessary amount of resources being directed toward that effort, particularly when you consider what comes out of it on our end."
The recertification process can last two years and includes a self-examination in regard to academics, meeting Title IX requirements, rules compliance and student-athlete welfare, among other things. UTC's steering committee for the self-study has 30 members, and there are several subcommittees and subgroups.
UTC was last certified in 2004.
Even if nothing comes of the school's current study, the process was beneficial, Hart said.
"There was some valuable information and improvements [in the report] that we had already identified through the vetting process, so we're going to move forward as if [the recertification] is happening," he said.
Those improvements, he said, primarily involved updating policies and procedures and providing more documentation in some areas.