The appointment of an Athletics Integrity Monitor (note the capital letters) is part of the oh-so-serious sanctions the NCAA dropped when it smacked Penn State with its shithammer. This is straight from the statement the NCAA issued today:
Mitchell's five-year appointment begins immediately.
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.
In his role as monitor, 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 will be 79 years old later this month, so he's an interesting choice for any gig with a five-year term. In his diplomatic career, he brokered peace in Northern Ireland, prepared an international report on violence in the Middle East, and oversaw the fund for families of the victims of 9/11. Oh, right: MLB also paid him $20 million basically to read Jose Canseco's book to determine something about steroids in baseball. Now Mitchell gets to spend five years making sure some undergraduate doing work-study in the athletic department doesn't put any of the Big Ten's paperwork in the same pile as the NCAA's. On the bright side, this might create a bunch of $15-an-hour job opportunities for Penn State law students four times a year for the next five years. All so NCAA president Mark Emmert can continue to pretend everything everywhere in college athletics is just spilling over with integrity. Because that's what the NCAA does.