Mitchell Says Future Sanction Reductions Possible
Penn State’s Athletic Integrity Monitor to the NCAA Sen. George Mitchell addressed the Board of Trustees this morning in a brief but encouraging session, leaving open the possibility of future reductions in the NCAA sanctions.
Mitchell released his first annual report in September in tangent with private conversations with the NCAA in which he recommended the sanction reductions. That recommendation sparked a decision to gradually eliminate some of the scholarship reductions Penn State faced through the next three seasons.
“I recommended modifying the sanctions in place,” Mitchell said, noting that he recommended a “multi-stage” approach to the NCAA, leaving room for future reductions. “My recommendation was based solely on the fact that Penn State has made a good faith effort to meet their commitment.”
It looks like Penn State fans will need to wait at least 10 months to find out its future fate with the NCAA. Mitchell’s next annual report is due out in September.
“At the time of my annual report next year, I will determine if I will recommend further [NCAA] relief,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s premature to speculate on the precise nature on future modifications that must be possible.”
“I am confident it will occur,” he added on his potential recommendation for future reductions.
Mitchell was wholly complimentary of Penn State’s progress and response since the Freeh report was released.
“In all of the reports my findings have been consistent: Penn State has cooperated fully with me and my staff and provides us unfettered access,” Mitchell said. “Penn State has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fulfilling the requirements of the athletics integrity agreement.”
Of course, the athletic integrity agreement is in itself a lightning rod for criticism. Mitchell acknowledged this fact, but advocated for the respectful exchange of ideas across the university community.
“I also recognize that there remains a disagreement in the community in how the NCAA and the Board of Trustees acted,” Mitchell said. “I encourage everyone to exchange their views in a civil manner that will reflect well of this institution. Never lose sight about what everyone involved should have in common: a deep devotion to Penn State University, to its future, and most importantly, to the young people that are educated here.”
The full Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled to begin at 1:30 this afternoon.