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about a year ago

George Mitchell Issues First Athletics Integrity Report to NCAA

Former US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and U.S. Senator from Maine George Mitchell in his office at DLA Piper, a law firm in New York during an interview with Reuters

As part of the NCAA consent decree, Penn State’s athletic integrity monitor former Senator George Mitchell has issued his first quarterly report on Penn State’s compliance with the NCAA.

“We have received the University’s full cooperation during this initial period of the monitorship,” the report says. “Our requests for access to University personnel have been granted without exception.”

Mitchell adressed the wide-spread public criticism of the consent decree and NCAA sanctions in the following excerpt:

The University leadership’s determination to move forward in implementing the requirements of the Consent Decree and the AIA has drawn broad support. But it also has been criticized by some in the Penn State community who have taken strong exception to the criticism of Penn State’s culture in the Freeh Report and in the Consent Decree. Others have criticized the decision to accept the NCAA sanctions, which they insist could have been, and should have been, resisted. Criticism is likely to continue and even to intensify in 2013 as the criminal trials of former senior Penn State officials occur. However, not all of those who have expressed these dissenting views resist change. Many, especially those whose criticism is focused on what they allege to be the sweeping and unfounded assertions of the Freeh Report, nonetheless favor Penn State’s putting this issue behind it and moving forward.

The leaders of the University have listened to and considered all points of view, but they do not appear to have been deterred from taking the steps necessary to address the perception that the events that led to the Consent Decree were attributable in part to a culture that elevated the football program above other important institutional priorities. Penn State appears to be working diligently to address this issue.

I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of the commitment and loyalty of those in the Penn State community. These can be powerful tools when they are accompanied by a recognition that critical self-analysis will strengthen the institution and is essential to restoring its hard-earned reputation for excellence. The University remains in the early stages of this process of analysis, debate, and change. It is too soon to judge the ultimate result. But I believe that Penn State is off to a very good start.

“This report indicates the strength of Penn State’s continuing commitment to integrity, responsibility, institutional control and ethical conduct, as well as the significant progress that Penn State has made since July,” said University President Rodney Erickson in a Penn State Live release. “We are proud of our University, including most specifically our students, faculty and staff, and we also are proud of our efforts to date in complying with the Athletics Integrity Agreement. While we recognize that there is much more to do, we’re happy that Sen. Mitchell and his team recognize all that we have done and we are committed to continuing these efforts, in full compliance with the consent decree and the Athletics Integrity Agreement.”

We’ll have a longer update later. To read the full 57-page report, click here.

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Sandusky Scandal - On November 5, 2011, a 23-page Grand Jury report rocked Penn State to its foundation. As a result of Jerry Sandusky being convicted on 45 of 48 counts sexual abuse against 10 minors and subsequent fallout and alleged coverup by several key school administrators and legendary coach Joe Paterno, these events will forever be a dark stain in the history of our University. Read more