The NCAA's severe punitive penalties for Penn State football garnered most of the attention last week, but both the NCAA and Big Ten also outlined some corrective measures for the program. One of them: to have an independent athletics integrity monitor for the athletic program.
Now we know who this person will be: former U.S. Senator George Mitchell.
The NCAA on Wednesday tapped Mitchell to evaluate Penn State for the next five years. He'll monitor the school's compliance and make sure it adheres to the athletic integrity agreement it will reach with both the NCAA and the Big Ten. Mitchell will make recommendations to ensure Penn State enhances its commitment to "NCAA and Big Ten principles, values, ethics and rules."
From the NCAA release:
In his role as monitor, Mitchell will prepare quarterly progress reports for the NCAA, the Big Ten and Penn State’s board of trustees. He will be assisted by his law firm, DLA Piper, and can employ other legal counsel, consultants, investigators, experts and personnel as needed to perform his duties.
Penn State is expected to sign the agreement mid-August once Mitchell has reviewed the language.
"I enter this engagement mindful of the fact that this tragedy has deeply affected many lives, starting, of course, with the victims and their families," Mitchell said. "I will do my best to fulfill my independent oversight responsibilities to help ensure that Penn State University moves promptly and decisively to achieve the very high level of trust and integrity needed to fulfill its important mission to those it serves."
If Mitchell's name rings a bell -- and it should -- he's the same guy Major League Baseball commissioned to investigate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport. The Mitchell Report was released in December 2007.