The governing body of U.S. college sports on Wednesday appointed former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to monitor Penn State’s compliance with sanctions it faces for failing to stop coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, said Mitchell would have access to the school’s campus, personnel and records during his five-year appointment. He will make quarterly reports and can hire lawyers, investigators and experts to help monitor the school.
Last month, in the wake of the Sandusky child abuse scandal, the NCAA fined Penn State University $60 million, voided its football victories for the past 14 seasons, banned it from lucrative post-season games for four years and cut the number of scholarships available to players.
Aside from his 15-year career in the U.S. Senate representing Maine, Mitchell served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton on Ireland, led a fact-finding mission in the Middle East and headed up the investigation into performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, among other assignments.
“Senator Mitchell has impeccable credentials as a fair and experienced arbitrator nationally and globally,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “He will bring the benefit of his vast experience and knowledge to the execution of the agreement.”
A spokesman for Penn State said school officials planned to meet with Mitchell shortly.
Penn State officials were accused of not taking action after being alerted that Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was sexually abusing children. The scandal tainted one of college football’s leading coaches, the late Joe Paterno, and led to his firing last year along with other top school officials.
In June, Sandusky, 68, was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of 15 years. He awaits sentencing.