By Lisa Powers, Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK – The University is moving forward quickly to fulfill the requirements of the Athletics Integrity Agreement entered into in August among the NCAA, the Big Ten and the University. The agreement contains a number of prescriptive measures designed to ensure Penn State continues to meet all applicable NCAA and Big Ten rules and standards of integrity.
As part of the agreement, Penn State is currently searching for an athletics integrity officer to develop, implement and oversee policies and practices within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics that ensure compliance and ethical conduct. This new position will be in addition to the compliance officer already working within Intercollegiate Athletics. The integrity officer position will oversee compliance with obligations of integrity, civility, ethics and institutional control, according to Penn State President Rodney Erickson. The position is expected to report to the University-wide chief compliance officer, a position currently being filled by the University.
A search committee, headed by Linda Caldwell, the University’s faculty representative to the NCAA and distinguished professor of recreation, parks and tourism management, has been formed to find a qualified individual from a national pool of interested candidates.
Other members of the committee, which is expected to appoint an integrity officer within the next 60 days, include: Stephen Dunham, vice president and University general counsel; Tanya Furman, assistant vice president and associate dean for Undergraduate Education; Jennifer James, assistant director of athletics; Jeff Laman, immediate past chair of the University Faculty Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics and engineering professor; John Nichols, professor emeritus of communications; and Matt Stolberg, associate athletics director for compliance and student-athlete services.
The Athletics Integrity Agreement also calls for the creation of an Athletics Integrity Council that will report to the president and the Board of Trustees on compliance matters within Intercollegiate Athletics. The council, which will be chaired by the newly hired integrity officer, will at a minimum include three faculty and senior University administrators, the faculty athletics representative to the NCAA and the associate athletics director for compliance and student-athlete services.
“While some of this is new, other portions are already in place. These changes, together with the changes suggested by Judge Louis Freeh, are intended and designed to move us forward and improve our practices and policies,” Erickson said. “When they are instituted, we will be a model for compliance, integrity and ethics in intercollegiate athletics.”
Other terms of the Athletics Integrity Agreement include:
1) Each intercollegiate athletics team will name a person to monitor and oversee activities within the team relating to compliance and other obligations, and report to the athletic director on an annual basis.
2) Development of a code of conduct for all “covered persons” (student-athletes, coaches, staff members, administrators, the president and the members of the Board of Trustees) to follow. Adherence to the code will be part of the performance review for all coaches and staff.
3) Review all policies and procedures to determine if additional mechanisms are needed to ensure integrity, institutional control, ethical conduct and responsibility.
4) More education and training related to NCAA and Big Ten rules and regulations.
Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell was appointed for a five-year period by the NCAA on Aug. 1 as the independent athletics integrity monitor at Penn State.