Athletics Integrity Resources
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 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 the Athletics Department’s Mission, Vision and Core Values, all of which reflect those principles that serve as our measure of success, regardless of the outcome on the field.
Our Mission is to strive for excellence by offering all students model programs to develop meaningful standards of scholarship, athletic performance, leadership, community service, ethical conduct and sportsmanship within the institution’s educational and social environments.
Our Vision is to maintain a broad-based program the equal of any in the nation; to achieve the most favorable graduation rate possible for student-athletes; to field teams that compete at the highest levels of national and conference play; to encourage individual excellence and the esteem that follows; to aid in the social preparation of young people for the diverse world they are about to enter; to create an awareness of public service and the importance of participation in community outreach; to provide recreational facilities and opportunities to address every interest area, and to entertain the University student body and staff, alumni and fans with a consistently high level of competition that does not compromise the integrity which has characterized the Penn State program from its inception.
Our Core Values define who we are, not how we did. Our Core Values are those attributes that, whether experiencing the highest high or the lowest low, will not be compromised or abandoned. These Core Values are integrity, honor and respect.
This Code of Conduct will help ensure that our Mission, Vision and Core 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.
This Code of Conduct is applicable to all “Covered Persons” which includes all student-athletes who participate on any 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 Covered Persons 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, 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 Covered Persons
1. All Covered Persons 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 Covered Persons 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.
Reports of other suspected violations should 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;
(c) through the procedures set forth under University Policy AD 67, “Disclosure of Wrongful Conduct and Protection from Retaliation,”; or
(d) through any other University procedure for reporting suspected misconduct, such as filing a report with the Office of Student Conduct, the University Police, or the Affirmative Action Office.
In addition to the obligations required of all Covered Persons 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; 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)
In addition to the obligations required of all Covered Persons 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 with regard to academic support staff and shall not apply pressure through intimidation of or threats to 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 apply pressure through intimidation of or threats to any member of such compliance staff;
(c) work with the admissions office to recommend qualified student-athletes for admission, but not attempt to bring pressure upon the admissions office personnel 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; and
(e) comply with all applicable University policies and procedures (www.guru.psu.edu).
Administrators and Staff
In addition to the obligations required of all Covered Persons 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 (www.guru.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 Covered Persons under this Code of Conduct, the Board of Trustees, individually and collectively, shall:
(a) 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
(b) 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.
In addition to the obligations required of all Covered Persons under this Code of Conduct, the University President shall:
(a) adhere to NCAA Operating Bylaws, Article 126.96.36.199(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 Covered Persons, 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 Covered Person, 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.
On July 23, 2012, The Pennsylvania State University (the “University”) accepted a Consent Decree (the “Consent Decree”) imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (the “NCAA”). Pursuant to the Consent Decree, the University and the NCAA and Big Ten Conference, Inc. (the “Big Ten”) entered into an Athletics Integrity Agreement dated as of August 28, 2012 (the “Athletics Integrity Agreement”) pursuant to which the University agreed to certain integrity obligations, as described therein. At the expiration of the Athletics Integrity Agreement in 2017, Penn State President Dr. Eric Barron announced that the University would continue all of the processes and procedures for safeguarding athletic integrity established in the Athletics Integrity Agreement as part of its voluntary Athletics Integrity Program.
One of such integrity obligations was to appoint an Athletics Integrity Officer, who will be responsible, among other things, for developing and implementing policies, procedures, and practices designed to ensure compliance with all applicable NCAA and Big Ten rules and regulations and with the requirements set forth in the Athletics Integrity Agreement.
Another of the University’s integrity obligations under the Athletics Integrity Agreement is to appoint an Athletics Integrity Council (the “Athletics Integrity Council”). The role of the Athletics Integrity Council, as set forth in the Athletics Integrity Agreement, is to support the Athletics Integrity Officer in fulfilling his or her responsibilities. The Athletics Integrity Council will be chaired by the Athletics Integrity Officer. The initial members of the Athletics Integrity Council are set forth in Appendix A.
The Athletics Integrity Council will report directly to the President of the University and to the Legal and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees.
This document is intended to define the role and responsibilities of the Athletics Integrity Council, as a way to help ensure that the Athletics Integrity Council fulfills its stated mission.
Role and Responsibilities
1. The Athletics Integrity Council will meet at least quarterly.
2. The Athletics Integrity Council will receive and review the annual certifications to be made by the “Team Monitors” and shall review any corrective actions taken in response to issues that have arisen during the year.
3. If any Team Monitor fails to submit a written certification as required, or if such certification is limited or conditioned in any way, the Athletics Integrity Council will direct that immediate steps be taken to remediate the shortcomings and shall report such action to the President and the Legal and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees.
4. The Athletics Integrity Council will receive and review the annual certifications to be made by the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics pursuant to the Athletics Integrity Agreement.
5. The Athletics Integrity Council will review and approve the Code of Conduct and the “Policies and Procedures” to be developed and implemented pursuant to the Athletics Integrity Agreement, shall review such Code of Conduct and Policies and Procedures annually (or more frequently, if appropriate) and make such modifications as may be necessary or advisable.
6. The Athletics Integrity Council shall oversee all training to be conducted pursuant to the Athletics Integrity Agreement.
7. The Athletics Integrity Council shall oversee the process for obtaining and tracking the certifications to be provided by “Covered Persons” under the Athletics Integrity Agreement with respect to training.
8. The Athletics Integrity Council shall oversee any inquiry or internal review by the Athletics Integrity Officer, or his or her designee, into issues, problems or concerns disclosed to the Athletics Integrity Officer (whether pursuant to the “Disclosure Program” implemented pursuant to the Athletics Integrity Agreement or otherwise) and ensure that proper follow-up is conducted.
9. The Athletics Integrity Council shall receive and review regular updates from the Athletics Integrity Officer on any reports received by the Athletics Integrity Officer pursuant to the Disclosure Program.
10. The Athletics Integrity Council shall meet with the Independent Monitor as requested by the Independent Monitor, but not less than annually.
11. In addition to the duties described above, the Athletics Integrity Council shall support the Athletics Integrity Officer in fulfilling his or her responsibilities as reasonably requested by the Athletics Integrity Officer.
12. The Athletics Integrity Council shall maintain an open line of communication with the Faculty Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics.
This statement of roles and responsibilities of the Athletics Integrity Council may be amended, modified or supplemented from time to time by the Athletics Integrity Council is such manner as the Athletics Integrity Council may determine; provided, however that such amendments, modifications or supplements shall not be inconsistent with the terms of the Athletics Integrity Agreement or the Consent Decree.