Penn State has established itself as an institution where athletes are given clear expectations for high standards. Here, academics are placed ahead of athletics, which isn’t the case at all universities.
The numbers don’t lie. Just compare the graduation rates of athletes and non-athletes.
Penn State’s graduation rate for athletes — 88 percent — actually exceeds the University Park average, which is 85 percent.
And looking at other universities, Penn State’s athletes outpace most of their opponents, exceeding a national Division I average of 80 percent.
These statistics are impressive and prove that Penn State is doing something right when it comes to its academics. There is already an athletic compliance office thats job is to oversee more than 800 student athletes to ensure that the athletic department and its student athletes are compliant with Big Ten and NCAA rules.
That being said, there is always room for improvement, even within an already solid athletic program.
Penn State named its athletics integrity officer last week, who will start working part-time, one day a week, in March and begin working full-time April 1.
Julie Del Giorno is currently the chief of staff at Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminar.
The Athletics Integrity Agreement between the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Big Ten and Penn State required Penn State to create the athletics integrity officer position. The university entered that agreement over the summer because President Rodney Erickson feared the NCAA would shut down the football program otherwise.
No matter what your opinions on Penn State’s agreement with the NCAA, it will not be the end of the world to have one more person monitoring the athletic program to make sure things are done right.
Her job description has been very vague as far as what she will be doing while in her position. Del Giorno even said herself no one else in the country has the job, so she doesn’t really have a model.
We hope that she does take it as her duty to bring more integrity to not just the program but the individual athletes. Players should get involved with community service to build character.
Del Giorno should expand her duties to make sure student athletes continue to do well in the classroom and also take advantage of community opportunities. She should not just monitor what happens on the field.