Former Sen. Mitchell selected as athletics integrity monitor

August 01, 2012

The NCAA on Wednesday (Aug. 1) selected former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell as the independent athletics integrity monitor at Penn State. His five-year appointment begins immediately.

As athletics integrity monitor, Mitchell will evaluate Penn State's compliance with NCAA sanctions and the athletics integrity agreement it will execute with the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference. He will have broad access to the campus, personnel and records and can make any recommendations he believes are necessary for the University to comply with all of its requirements and enhance adherence to NCAA and Big Ten principles, values, ethics and rules.

"We look forward to working with former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, who will coordinate with the University, including the Athletics Department, to ensure that the University complies the terms of the athletics integrity agreement," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "His extensive experience on the boards of major companies such as Xerox, FedEx, Staples and Disney, and deep understanding of the sports industry, make him uniquely qualified for this position. University representatives hope to meet with Sen. Mitchell soon to discuss how we will work together."

NCAA President Mark Emmert informed the NCAA executive committee today of Mitchell's selection. "Sen. Mitchell has impeccable credentials as a fair and experienced arbitrator nationally and globally," Emmert said. "He will bring the benefit of his vast experience and knowledge to the execution of the agreement."

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."

Mitchell's respected and distinguished career as a public servant, statesman and global leader spans more than 50 years. His experience includes representing his home state of Maine in the U.S. Senate for 15 years, including as Senate majority leader. Following his tenure in the Senate, he served as a special adviser to President Clinton on Ireland in 1995, and from 1996 to 2000 he served as the independent chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks.

In 2000 and 2001, Mitchell served as chairman of an international fact-finding committee on violence in the Middle East. The committee's recommendation, widely known as The Mitchell Report, was endorsed by the Bush administration, the European Union, and by many other governments.

In 2006 and 2007 he led the investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. He also served as chairman of the special commission investigating allegations of impropriety in the bidding process for the Olympic Games; and was the independent overseer of the American Red Cross Liberty Fund, which provided relief for Sept. 11 attack victims and their families.

Mitchell was U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from January 2009 to May 2011.

The author of four books, Mitchell received an undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College, where he was a member of the men's basketball team. He earned his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.

In 2010 the NCAA bestowed on Mitchell its Theodore Roosevelt Award, the association's highest honor. Known as the "Teddy," the award is presented annually to a former student-athlete with a distinguished career of national significance and achievement.

Mitchell currently is chairman emeritus at DLA Piper, a global law firm.

Last Updated August 02, 2012