Sen. George Mitchell Releases First Athletic Integrity Agreement Report, Penn State 'Off to a Good Start'
Penn State's Athletic Integrity Monitor, Sen. George Mitchell, said Penn State officials responsible for reforming the university as recommended by the Freeh report are making "a good faith effort" to implement the appropriate change.
Mitchell released the first-quarterly, 57-page report on Friday and it was posted on Penn State's 'Progress' website. The report explored the observations of Penn State's athletic department, it's "Integrity Program" and related reforms, its policies and enhancements to other university policies.
The report states that Mitchell and his colleagues received full cooperation from Penn State during the first stage of monitorship, and that "requests for access to university personnel were granted without exception."
In July, Penn State President Rodney Erickson signed an Athletics Integrity Agreement with the Big Ten and the NCAA that ordered Penn State to reform many areas of the university, including its policies for reporting abuse and its culture, which were also recommendations made is former FBI Director Louis Freeh's report. The Freeh report was released on July 12.
Penn State officials announced on Wednesday that more than half of Freeh's recommendations were either in place or in progress.
Mitchell concluded that while no conclusion can be made yet, Penn State "is off to a very good start in its efforts to implement the reforms" mandated by the Athletic Integrity Agreement – the report said the university is doing more than conducting "check the box exercises." Still, the road ahead is long.
Several crucial reforms must be in place in the next 120 days, which also falls within the next reporting period, according to the report. Those changes include:
- The appointment of an athletics integrity officer and his or her subsequent installation as chair of the newly established Athletics Integrity Council
- The implementation of the newly adopted Code of Conduct for Intercollegiate Athletics
- The finalization of the Athletics Department revisions to its manual to incorporate policies and procedures related to the required Integrity Program
- The finalization of implementation of the required Disclosure Program, according to the report.
The AIA also requires Penn State to distribute the code of conduct and all integrity policies to all individuals who must abide by it. Those individuals must report back that they have read the code and will follow the procedures, the report states.
The next quarterly report is expected to be released in February.