On August 1, 2012, the NCAA announced its selection of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell as the independent “Athletics Integrity Monitor” at Penn State University. Mitchell will begin his five-year appointment immediately. Mitchell’s appointment was made to implement one of the NCAA-imposed penalties in the Penn State case. The NCAA explained in its media statement, “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.” Further, the NCAA stated “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.”
Mitchell, who was a United States Senator for 15 years from Maine, served as Senate majority leader, Special Advisor to President Clinton on Ireland and the Independent Chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks. Mitchell also has served as Chairman of an International Fact-Finding Committee on violence in the Middle East, led a performance enhancing drug investigation for Major League Baseball and performed other tasks and duties for national and international organizations and efforts.