University of Wyoming Named Program of Excellence

Sept. 27, 2005

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

The University of Wyoming Athletics Department has been awarded the distinction of a Program of Excellence for their CHAMPS efforts, as announced this week by the Division 1A Athletic Director's Association (ADA) and UW athletics director Gary Barta. This elite honor is the highest standing a school can receive for its' overall intercollegiate athletics organization.

The CHAMPS program was created in 1991 as a total development program for student-athletes. The program is designed to enhance the quality of the student-athlete experience within the university setting.

For the 2005-06 academic year only four schools were given this honor: Wyoming, University of Illinois, Texas Tech University, and University of Wisconsin.

"Wins and losses appear in the newspaper, but as a total program this is as prestigious an honor as an institution can receive," stated Barta. "What it says about our program is what the people of Wyoming expect. They want our athletics department to achieve at the highest level in all areas.

"Our goal is to prepare our student-athletes so that when they leave the University they will be outstanding contributors in their community."

Barta, along with Senior Associate Athletics Director Barbara Burke and UW CHAMPS Coordinator Sarah McCullough will be recognized in front of a gathering of NCAA peers at the 1A ADA annual meeting in several weeks.

With this honor Wyoming becomes only the third Mountain West Conference school to be named a Program of Excellence, the others being BYU in 2002-03 and Utah in 2004-05.

Last year Wyoming's athletics department was recognized as a Program of Merit, the step prior to becoming a Program of Excellence.

The Program of Excellence recognizes the overall success of a school's CHAMPS program for the complete student-athlete. CHAMPS includes five areas of development: Academic Excellence, Athletic Excellence, Personal Development, Career Development, and Commitment to Service. Within the five areas of development, student-athletes have the opportunity to grow personally and professionally and pursue their educational, athletic and career goals.

The University of Wyoming has been recognized as excelling in all five areas. Examples of programs in each area are listed below:

- In academics, UW has an extensive tutoring program and academic resources which provide student-athletes with every opportunity to reach their full potential in the classroom.
- Athletically, the facilities, coaches, support staff and equipment necessary for success are present, with plans for more improvements in place.
- UW student-athletes connect with the community through programs such as book readings, the annual Holiday Party for children from low-income families, and fundraisers such as the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort.
- In career development, Wyoming student-athletes have the opportunity to develop their resume and then list their qualifications in a CD sent out to interested potential employers.
- Finally, the University of Wyoming helps develop personal growth and health through annual alcohol and eating disorder screenings.

This is only a small sampling of the resources that have been made available to UW student-athletes in cooperation with the campus-wide community. The Athletics Department's level of recognition has been made possible through the efforts of the entire athletics department staff and the cooperation of many faculty and staff across campus.

The process for consideration for this distinguished award is a lengthy and thorough process. Submitted materials are evaluated by the CHAMPS National Advisory Board.

In order to be considered as a CHAMPS Program of Excellence, an athletics department must demonstrate:

- That all five components of the program are in place, demonstrating both substance and longevity.
- That goals and objectives are stated for all components which are designed to address the needs of the student-athletes.
- The design and implementation of an athletics department mission statement that reflects a commitment to the welfare of the student-athlete.
- The designation of a CHAMPS professional who is identifiable on a departmental organizational chart with reporting lines to the Director of Athletics, and that staffing and financial support are provided in all five component areas of the program.
- The development and implementation of a marketing and promotions plan which includes promoting CHAMPS programs and achievements to all constituent groups.

Since development of the Program of Excellence in 1997 the following schools have been recognized with the label:

1997-1998
North Carolina State University
The Ohio State University
University of Arizona
University of Texas

1998-1999
Florida State University
Penn State University
Syracuse University
University of Florida
University of Nebraska
University of Oklahoma
University of Washington

1999-2000
University of Alabama
Clemson University
Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Georgia
University of Kentucky
University of Tennessee

2000-2001
Arizona State University
University of Iowa
Michigan State University
University of Notre Dame

2001-2002
Ball State University
Central Michigan University
Louisiana State University

2002-2003
Brigham Young University
University of Missouri
University Oregon

2003-2004
Texas A & M University
University of South Carolina

2004-2005
Auburn University
Purdue University
University of Utah

2005-06
University of Illinois
Texas Tech University
University of Wisconsin
University of Wyoming