Penn State Shows 'Notable' Improvements in Implementing Free Report Recommendations


Former Sen. George Mitchell, the athletics integrity monitor appointed Penn State University's (PSU), said the school is making great progress, the Associated Press reported.

Mitchell was appointed by the NCAA to track PSU as it implements changes recommended by former FBI director Louis Freeh. He issued a report consisting of 119 recommendations following the scandal and cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's molestation of many young boys.

The former Senator said the school has already implemented most of the changes recommended to them. As part of the most severe punishment ever handed down by the NCAA on one institution, Penn State was ordered to adopt the changes suggested in the Freeh Report.

Mitchell released his first year-end report of his observances of the school and their work towards adopting Freeh's recommendations.

"The amount of resources, time and energy devoted to these efforts has been notable. We have been impressed by the professionalism of those leading this undertaking," the report said.

Freeh found in his investigation that school officials and members of the football team staff knew Sandusky had raped young boys on school grounds, but did not report the incident to the proper authorities. For this, the NCAA fined the school $60 million, banned the football team from participating in a bowl game for four years, vacated every single game in Joe Paterno's career and reduced the team's amount of scholarships.

"While parties may continue to argue about the history that led to the Freeh report and the (consent decree), a consensus has developed that the principles of the heart of these reforms are best practices for the governance of any large university," Mitchell's report said.

The Paterno family is suing the NCAA for its sanctions and argues the late coach's legacy was tarnished unfairly by the Freeh report. Former PSU president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley are all standing trial for their roles in the alleged cover-up.

They each face charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy.

Mitchell said work remains to be done by the school and, despite his positive report, did not recommend the NCAA reduce its sanctions. He said the school still needs to add more security measures, improve records retention and fix the campus' "culture."

PSU president Rodney Erickson agreed with Mitchell's conclusion.

"The favorable report is a significant milestone for us, but it does not represent the conclusion of our efforts."

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