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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Instructional Performance Program (IPP) and what is the Self-Study?

The Institutional Performance Program (IPP) is the process required by the NCAA to reclassify from Division II to Division I. It is intended to ensure a commitment to the standards of Division I and to the integrity of intercollegiate athletics. 

The IPP process consists of two parts: the Self-Study and the peer review team campus visit. A NCAA Peer Review team visits campus to complete the study then renders a decision regarding the University’s elevation to full Division I status.

The Self-Study is an institutional self-assessment that will enable the university to confirm areas of strength, identify areas of weakness, and chart measurable plans for improvement. The campus-wide self-study is intended to accomplish three major goals: (1) open the entire athletic operation to the broader campus community; (2) set clear standards for the conduct of a Division I athletics program; and (3) serve as a strong incentive for vigorous assessment. 

While the process is intended to be enriching for each institution, there are serious sanctions for institutions that fail to conduct a comprehensive self-study and/or correct problems over a reasonable period of time. 

What are some of the key issues that will be examined?

When the university decided to elevate to Division I athletics, the institution committed itself to certain membership operating principles.  These principles are summarized by Division I membership as follows: governance and rules compliance; academic integrity; and gender/diversity and student well-being. 

Examples of questions that might be asked include:
Governance and Rules Compliance: 
  • Does the university have written compliance policies and procedures for recruiting student-athletes?  
  • Does the responsibility for admitting student-athletes lie with the same office that handles admissions for all students? 
  • Who in athletics and outside the athletics department is responsible for rules compliance? 
  • Are written compliance policies and procedures clearly communicated to athletics staff members on an annual basis?  
Academic Integrity:
  • Are student-athletes admitted to the university using the same admissions policies that apply to all students?  
  • Are academic standards for student-athletes consistent with the standards for the student body in general?  
  • Are there differences between the graduation rate of student-athletes and the graduation rate of students generally?  
  • Are there differences between the retention rate of student-athlete and the retention rate of all student-athletes?   
  • Is missed class time significant or excessive for student-athletes? 
Student-Athlete Well-Being: 
  • How does the university recruit staff, coaches, and student-athletes from underrepresented groups or diverse backgrounds?  
  • Does the university conduct exit interviews with student-athletes from each sport? 
  • Does the university have written appeal procedures for such areas as financial aid?  
  • Does the university have a life skills program to address areas such as career counseling, nutrition, or alcohol and drug guidelines?  
The intent of the self-study process is to allow the campus community to evaluate these commitments and insure that the operation of Intercollegiate Athletics is fully integrated into campus life and mission of the university. 

What happens once the process is completed?

As a transitioning Division I institution, the university is not allowed to participate in NCAA post-season competition during the four years of the reclassification process (except that field hockey was eligible after two years) or benefit from receiving revenues annually from the NCAA distribution fund. Once the university has completed the four-year process and is approved for full Division I status, those restrictions will be lifted.

Why was field hockey eligible for post-season after just two years when all other sports had to wait four years?

Because the university had one men’s sport already competing in Division I, ice hockey, NCAA guidelines allow for one women’s sports other than the sport of women’s basketball to be fast-tracked to full Division I status. Whereas the team had competed so successfully at the Division II level, it was determined that  field hockey should be the fast-tracked sport. Field hockey is eligible for post-season competition in 2015.

What is the schedule to complete the IPP process?

The written portion of the Self-Study is due at the end of April 2016. After a period of feedback and amendment, the peer review team campus visit will take place sometime between late October and mid-November 2016.  

The NCAA Committee on Institutional Performance will render its final decision early spring of 2017. 

Who is directly involved in the self-study?

The chancellor appointed a steering committee to oversee the self-study process. In addition to the steering committee, three subcommittees have been appointed with representatives from the university and community: Governance and Rules Compliance, Academic Integrity, and Gender/Diversity & Well-Being. 

Chancellor Moloney asked Provost Don Pierson to chair the Steering Committee. Pierson assembled a team of three subcommittee chairs: John Ting (Academic Integrity), Tom Taylor (Gender/Diversity & Well-Being) and Lauren Turner (Governance and Rules Compliance).

The Steering Committee chair and subcommittee chairs recruited more than 70 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administrators to be directly involved in the self-study process. 

Senior Associate Athletic Director Sandra Niedergall serves as the institutional liaison to the NCAA, as well as report (Self-Study) coordinator. Niedergall is available at extension 4-6805 or to answer questions related to the process.

Are others expected to participate in the IPP Self-Study?

Yes, the NCAA designed the process to ensure full engagement across the university. All members of the UMass Lowell community are welcomed and encouraged to participate by providing feedback on reports posted on this website and by attending scheduled open forums. Comments or questions can be submitted to

The open forum dates will be provided on Today@UMass Lowell, the Connector and via the campuswide email. 

What happens at the conclusion of the self-study?

Once the NCAA approves the university’s status as a Division I Institution, all restrictions are eliminated. At that time, UMass Lowell will be eligible for all conference and NCAA tournaments, participate in revenue-sharing which will help offset some of the costs related to competing in Division I, and participate as a full voting member of the NCAA.