I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY -
This is the sixth quarterly report of the independent athletics integrity monitor (“Monitor”) pursuant to section III of the Consent Decree between the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) and The Pennsylvania State University (“Penn State” or the “University”), and article IV of the Athletics Integrity Agreement (“AIA”) among the NCAA, Penn State, and the Big Ten Conference.
We note at the outset two events that received widespread attention this quarter. On February 18th, Penn State announced a new President, Dr. Eric Barron, to succeed Dr. Rodney Erickson, who is retiring later this spring. As previously reported, Dr. Erickson steadfastly adhered to the letter of and principles underlying the Consent Decree and the AIA, and he provided forward-looking leadership during a challenging period in the University’s history. I thank Dr. Erickson for his cooperation and commendable service to Penn State. On January 11th, Penn State announced James Franklin as its new head football coach, succeeding Coach Bill O’Brien, who left to coach the Houston Texans in the National Football League.
During this reporting period, Penn State maintained its focus on compliance with the AIA and continued to work towards the implementation of the few outstanding recommendations made in the report by Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP dated July 12, 2012 (the “Freeh Report”). The University also continued to execute on its plan to improve in areas outside the scope of the Freeh Report. These steps forward came amid personnel changes within the Athletics Department that highlighted the need for heightened diligence in following the policies developed as a result of the Freeh Report recommendations. At the same time, the fact that policy issues were immediately reported to my team and addressed by the University suggests a developing culture in which self-improvement and self-reporting is valued and encouraged.
We have kept informed of other events that bear on the University’s performance under the AIA, including the activities of the Board of Trustees, developments in the Commonwealth’s General Assembly, and pending lawsuits. These happenings give context to our work, which remains focused on Penn State’s compliance with the Consent Decree and AIA.
Please see full report below for more information.
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