The National Association of Athletics Compliance or NAAC, the affiliate group for compliance professionals under the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) today unveiled their Education Certification program. The program includes eight hours of training on 10 NCAA bylaws plus training on NCAA resources and NCAA enforcement.
The certification course is just the first stage in an ongoing certification program that will roll out now that the initial training course have been launched. To maintain certification, compliance professionals will need to earn Continuing Compliance Education or CCE credits. This is another example of how the compliance industry shifts to mirror the legal industry. Missing from the NAAC program is an exam though; completion of the educational modules is sufficient, not scoring a given number on a test.
While the test is not required, it may quickly become required in the hiring process. NAAC is in discussions with the Committee on Infractions to make certification a mitigating factor in Level I or Level II infractions cases. That means if an error or omission by the compliance office is material to the case, having all certified compliance professionals may help fend off charges of failure to monitor or lack of institutional control and potentially reduce sanctions.
All this does not come cheap though, with the program costing $425 for NAAC members and $600 for nonmembers. According to NAAC, most of the revenue will be used to offset the development and operation of the course, with the rest used to provide other educational opportunities and stipends for staff members to attend the NAAC convention. You can get a preview of the course with a sample lesson on employment and athletes teaching private lessons.
I get asked regularly how to break into the compliance industry. The default answer now will include taking this course and earning then maintaining a certification. Right now this is the best way (outside of an internship) to demonstrate baseline knowledge and an enthusiasm for the job. And if it becomes a requirement for all Division I compliance jobs, better to have it when you apply than to have to ask for it if you get hired.