Athletics Integrity Resources

Code of Conduct

Athletics Integrity Council Charter

Intercollegiate Athletics Integrity Program (pdf)

Code of Conduct

Introduction

This Code of Conduct exemplifies the commitment of The Pennsylvania State University (“Penn State” or the “University”) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (the “Athletics Department” or the “Department”) to full compliance with the University’s and the Athletics Department’s policies and procedures, including the policies set forth in the University’s Athletics Integrity Program (“AIP”), the Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Manual (the “ICA Policy Manual”), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) Constitution and Bylaws and the Handbook of the Big Ten Conference (“Big Ten Handbook”), as well as the principles regarding institutional control, responsibility, ethical conduct and integrity reflected in the NCAA Constitution and Bylaws and the Big Ten Handbook.

The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to serve as a guidepost to direct the ethical bearing of the Athletics Department.  It was drafted to be congruent with both the University’s Values and the Athletics Department’s own Vision, Mission and Core Values, which together reflect the principles that serve as our measure of success, regardless of the outcome on the field.

The Vision of preparing students for a lifetime of impact is the purpose of the Athletics Department at Penn State.

The Mission of Penn State’s Athletics Department is driven by a commitment to comprehensive excellence.  It serves its student-athletes by creating conditions for their success, so they can maximize their full potential.  The Athletics Department engages the collective Penn State communities to serve as a valuable campus asset in the interest of advancing the broader University mission

The Athletics Department has committed to deliver on this mission by modeling the University’s Values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence, and Community.  These represent the first principles of both Penn State Athletics and the University’s commitment to all its constituents.  The Athletics Department further has stated its Core Values as being: Tradition, Teamwork, Diversity, Transparency, and Innovation.

Our Values define who we are, not how we did.  These Values are those attributes that, whether experiencing the highest high or the lowest low, will not be compromised or abandoned. 

This Code of Conduct will help ensure that our Mission, Vision and Values are ingrained in everything we do and that our commitments to the ideals of excellence, scholarship, integrity, ethical conduct, diversity, leadership, public service, athletic performance and sportsmanship are fulfilled. 

Applicability

This Code of Conduct is applicable to all “Signing Parties” as defined by the University’s AIP, which includes all student-athletes who participate on each of the University’s NCAA-sanctioned Division I intercollegiate athletics teams; all coaches and all managers of any of the University’s NCAA-sanctioned Division I intercollegiate athletics teams; all University staff and other University and Athletics Department employees who are directly involved with any of the University’s NCAA-sanctioned intercollegiate athletics teams; the University’s Board of Trustees, individually and collectively (the “Board of Trustees”); the President of the University; and all members of the Athletics  Director’s Executive Committee. 

For purposes of this Code of Conduct, an individual is “directly involved” with a University NCAA sanctioned Division I intercollegiate athletics team if such individual directs, controls or assists with any such team’s activities and has a reasonable likelihood of recurring personal interaction with both varsity student-athletes and coaches resulting from his or her employment responsibilities.

The Penn State Principles

Our Core Values are reflected in the following Penn State Principles, which were developed to embody the values to which we expect our students, faculty, staff, administration, trustees and alumni to adhere.  The University also is deeply committed, however, to freedom of expression.  Thus, the Penn State Principles do not constitute University policy and are not intended to interfere in any way with an individual’s legally-protected academic or personal freedoms. We expect, however, that all Signing Parties to this Code of Conduct will endorse these common principles voluntarily, to the extent applicable to them, thereby contributing to the traditions and scholarly heritage of Penn State left by those who preceded them, and will thus leave Penn State a better place for those who follow. 

The Penn State Principles are as follows:

I will respect the dignity of all individuals within the Penn State community and the local community and of all individuals with whom I compete on behalf of Penn State.

The University is committed to creating and maintaining an educational environment that respects the right of all individuals to participate fully in the community.  Actions motivated by hate, prejudice, or intolerance violate this principle.  I will not engage in any behaviors that compromise or demean the dignity of individuals or groups, including intimidation, stalking, harassment, discrimination, taunting, ridiculing, insulting, or engaging in acts of violence.  I will demonstrate respect for others by striving to learn from differences between people, ideas, and opinions and by avoiding behaviors that inhibit the ability of other community members to feel safe or welcome as they pursue their academic goals.

I will practice and promote the practice of academic integrity.

Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at Penn State, allowing the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner.  In accordance with the University Code of Conduct, I will practice and promote the practice of integrity with regard to all academic assignments.  I will not engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception because such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.

I will demonstrate social and personal responsibility.

The University is a community that promotes learning; any behaviors that are inconsistent with that goal are unacceptable.  Irresponsible behaviors, including alcohol or drug abuse and the use of violence against people or property, assisting or abetting wagering on intercollegiate athletics, undermine the educational climate of the University by threatening the physical and mental health of members of the University community.  I will exercise personal responsibility for my actions and I will make sure that my actions do not interfere with the academic and social environment of the University.  I will maintain a high standard of behavior by adhering to the University Code of Conduct and respecting the rights of others.

I will be responsible for my own academic progress and I agree to comply with all University policies.

The University allows students to identify and achieve their academic goals by providing the information needed to plan their chosen program of study and the necessary educational opportunities to complete that program successfully, but students assume final responsibility for course scheduling, program planning, and the successful completion of graduation requirements.  I will be responsible for seeking the academic and career information needed to meet my educational goals by becoming knowledgeable about the relevant policies, procedures, and rules of the University and my chosen academic program, by consulting and meeting with my adviser, and by successfully completing all of the requirements for graduation.

Expectations of Conduct

All Signing Parties

1. All Signing Parties shall:

(a)  comply with all University policies and procedures, as applicable

(b)  comply with ICA Policy Manual, as applicable;

(c)  comply with the applicable NCAA Constitution and Bylaws and the Big Ten Handbook, including the principles regarding institutional control, responsibility, ethical conduct and integrity; and

(d)  comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.

2.  All Signing Parties shall report—either anonymously or by identifying themselves—any suspected violation(s) of the University’s or the Athletics Department’s policies, the NCAA rules, the Big Ten rules or this Code of Conduct, or any other conduct that materially undermines the University’s and the Athletics Department’s commitment to its Core Values of integrity, honor and respect. 

Reports of suspected violations of NCAA rules or Big Ten rules should be made to the office of the Associate Athletic Director for Compliance and Student-Athlete Services, this would include requests by others for information, or engaging in conduct, that would assist others in wagering on intercollegiate athletics, whether such wagering is legal or illegal under local law.

Reports of other suspected violations may also be made via one of the following methods, at the reporter’s option:

(a)  to the Athletics Integrity Officer;

(b)  via the University’s Compliance and Ethics Hotline: (https://universityethics.psu.edu/penn-state-hotline); or

(c)  through the procedures set forth under University Policy AD 67, “Disclosure of Wrongful Conduct and Protection from Retaliation,” (https://policy.psu.edu/policies/ad67) or

(d)  through any other University procedure for reporting suspected misconduct, such as filing a report with the Office of Student Conduct (https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/conduct), the University Police (https://police.psu.edu/report-crime), or the Affirmative Action Office (https://titleix.psu.edu/filing-a-report/), or Child Abuse or Youth Protection (https://universityethics.psu.edu/reporting-child-abuse).

Student-Athletes

In addition to the obligations required of all Signing Parties under this Code of Conduct, student-athletes shall:

(a)  adhere to the University’s Student Code of Conduct and Conduct Procedures, as amended, modified, and supplemented from time-to-time (https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/support-safety-conduct/student-conduct/code-conduct); and

(b)  adhere to rules, policies and procedures established by the head coach of his or her individual sports program (it being understood that any such “team rules” shall be in addition to, and not in substitution for, any portion of this Code of Conduct)

Coaches

In addition to the obligations required of all Signing Parties under this Code of Conduct, all head coaches, assistant coaches, graduate assistant coaches, volunteer coaches and managers of the University’s NCAA Sanctioned Division I intercollegiate athletics teams (“Coaches”) shall:

(a)  not have any hiring or other supervisory role regarding academic support staff and shall not attempt to exercise inappropriate or undue influence upon any member of the academic support staff or of or to faculty members on behalf of a student athlete;

(b)  not have any hiring or other supervisory role with regard to University, NCAA, or Big Ten compliance staff and shall not attempt to exercise any inappropriate or undue influence upon any member of such compliance staff;

(c)  respect the Athletics Department’s liaison policies regarding coaches not having direct contact with the admissions office, in recommending qualified student-athletes for admission, and not attempting to exercise inappropriate or undue influence upon the admissions office personnel or the admissions process to admit an applicant merely because he or she possesses exceptional athletic ability;

(d)  conduct the sports team in such a manner to give full and active support to the educational aims of the University, cooperate fully in support of the faculty on eligibility requirements and insist that all student-athletes fulfill the same academic requirements as all other students at the University;

(e)  promptly report any inquiries from either the U.S. Center for Safe Sport (SafeSport) or their national governing body to the Athletics Director or Athletics Integrity Officer;

(f)  not have any hiring or supervisory role regarding the medical or athletic training staff; or attempt to exercise inappropriate or undue influence upon any member of the medical or athletic training staff regarding the medical treatment of a student-athlete.

(g) comply with all applicable University policies and procedures (https://policy.psu.edu/).

Administrators and Staff

In addition to the obligations required of all Signing Parties under this Code of Conduct, all administrators and staff covered by this Code of Conduct shall:

(a)   comply with all applicable University and Department-specific policies and procedures (https://policy.psu.edu/); and
(b)  conduct the intercollegiate athletics program in such a manner to give full and active support to the educational aims of the University, cooperate fully in support of the faculty on eligibility requirements and insist that all student-athletes fulfill the same academic requirements as all other students at the University.

Board of Trustees

In addition to the obligations required of all Signing Parties under this Code of Conduct, the Board of Trustees, individually and collectively, shall:

(a)  adhere to NCAA Operating Bylaws, Article 22.2.1.1(b), by acknowledging that the University President “is assigned ultimate responsibility and authority for the operation, fiscal integrity and personnel of the athletics program…”;

(b) adhere to the Board of Trustees’ Charter, Bylaws, and Standing Orders, including the Statement of Trustees Responsibilities and the Statement of Expectations of Membership, as amended by the Board of Trustees from time to time; and
(c)  fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to oversee the implementation of the Athletics Department’s policies and procedures, and to uphold the integrity of the intercollegiate athletics program and its alignment with the academic mission of Penn State.

University President

In addition to the obligations required of all Signing Parties under this Code of Conduct, the University President shall:

(a)  adhere to NCAA Operating Bylaws, Article 22.2.1.1(b), which provides that the University President “is assigned ultimate responsibility and authority for the operation, fiscal integrity and personnel of the athletics program…”;

(b) regularly communicate with the Board of Trustees regarding the integrity of the Penn State athletics program, the ethical conduct of all Signing Parties, and the President’s fulfillment of responsibilities as they relate to agreed-upon goals, standards and benchmarks of the University’s intercollegiate athletics program; and

(c)  establish and uphold, with input from faculty and the Penn State administration, academic and eligibility standards for student-athletes that reflect Penn State’s high academic values and vision.

Non-Retaliation and Confidentiality

The University and the Athletics Department maintain a strict non-retaliation and non-retribution policy for anyone, including but not limited to any Signing Party, who takes action that he/she reasonably believed to be necessary to uphold or enforce compliance with this Code of Conduct, the ICA Policy Manual, the University’s obligations under the NCAA Constitution and Bylaws and Big Ten Handbook, including NCAA and Big Ten principles regarding institutional control, responsibility, ethical conduct and integrity.  The University and the Athletics Department shall maintain confidentiality and anonymity with respect to any such report, unless required by law to do otherwise. 

[Revised: September 6, 2019]