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Mitchell report: Good start on Penn State reforms

Mitchell report: Good start on Penn State reforms

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) A former U.S. senator brought in to monitor Penn State said Friday the university has gotten ``off to a very good start'' in responding to NCAA sanctions for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

George Mitchell's first quarterly report as Penn State's athletics integrity monitor noted there was a looming deadline to complete a set of reforms, including implementation of a college sports code of conduct, but he said he believes university officials are acting in good faith.

``The university's efforts have resulted in tangible achievements,'' Mitchell wrote. ``Many formal policies have been revised or adopted, including policies to govern background checks for university employees, access to athletics and recreational facilities, protection of children involved in university-affiliated activities, and the duties to report possible child abuse.''

The 68-year-old Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted this summer of abusing several boys, some on campus. He's serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence but maintains he is innocent.

Three former university administrators, accused of covering up complaints about Sandusky's behavior and lying to a grand jury that investigated the case, have been charged with perjury, obstruction and other offenses. The three men, former president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, who's on leave while the final year of his contract runs out, have denied the allegations against them.

Mitchell, who served as a Democratic U.S. senator from Maine in the 1980s and '90s, said more than 9,600 people at Penn State's dozens of campuses already have been trained about legal duties to report suspected child abuse. He noted that university ID is now required for entrance to athletic and recreational facilities and much more elaborate rules are in place for adults involved in programs for children on campus.

``There appears to be unanimity within the Penn State community that one outcome of this tragedy should be greater awareness of the prevalence of child abuse in society generally and the devotion of more university resources to prevent it where the university can play a role in doing so,'' Mitchell wrote.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said he was pleased with Penn State's progress.

``Penn State has taken the first important steps necessary to ensure a culture of athletics integrity and we look forward to seeing continued progress as the (athletics integrity agreement) is fully implemented,'' Emmert said.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson issued a statement saying the university was proud of the progress it has made.

``While we recognize that there is much more to do, we're happy that Sen. Mitchell and his team recognize all that we have done and we are committed to continuing these efforts, in full compliance with the consent decree and the athletics integrity agreement,'' Erickson said.

Mitchell will keep tabs on the university's actions for five years under a binding consent decree it made with the Indianapolis-based NCAA and the Big Ten Conference following Sandusky's conviction.

The landmark sanctions from the NCAA included a four-year ban from postseason play and significant scholarship cuts for the marquee football program.

The agreement with college sports' governing body also included a $60 million fine, among other requirements, but the football program avoided being suspended, the so-called death penalty.

Pennsylvania's congressional delegation on Friday wrote to Emmert, asking him to devote the entire $60 million to child abuse prevention efforts within the state, rather than the minimum of 25 percent currently earmarked.

The university is implementing an athletics code of conduct, which its legal counsel said reaffirms current guidelines.

Mitchell's report noted the code of conduct would be circulated for review and signature to athletes, coaches, administrators, team managers and others in the university community, including trustees.

But three trustees at their board's Nov. 16 meeting sought to emphasize that passing such a code didn't equate to the board giving its approval to the NCAA sanctions, which were agreed to by Erickson. That underscored that deep fractures remain among some alumni over the penalties and Erickson's handling of talks with the NCAA.

Most vocal critics are particularly incensed that the sanctions affected players who had nothing to do with the abuse scandal and that the NCAA acted with uncharacteristic speed in handing down penalties while other legal issues were unresolved.

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Mitchell report:http://bit.ly/TwIuhL

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Capitals re-sign forward Carl Hagelin to a four-year, $11 million contract

Capitals re-sign forward Carl Hagelin to a four-year, $11 million contract

WASHINGTON — The Capitals bolstered their forward depth and its penalty kill by re-signing two-time Stanley Cup champion Carl Hagelin before he hit unrestricted free agency next month. 

Washington has officially re-signed forward Carl Hagelin to a four-year, $11 million contract extension, a move that goes a long way toward re-establishing a third line that had some openings entering the offseason. 

Hagelin, 30, was a pending unrestricted free agent. Washington acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 21 just four days before the NHL trade deadline. Hagelin played primarily on the third line – although injuries in the Stanley Cup playoffs pushed him onto the second line. 

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Hagelin had three goals and 11 assists in 20 regular-season games with the Capitals and became an instant staple on the penalty kill. His 47 minutes, six seconds on the PK in those 20 games were enough to rank sixth among all forwards on the team.

Traded twice last season, Hagelin had a total of five goals and 14 assists with the Capitals, Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins in 58 games. He had a sprained knee (medial collateral ligament) with Los Angeles that kept him out for 20 games.  

"[Hagelin] was a good fit,” Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said on April 26. “I thought he fit seamlessly from day one. Really liked him on the third line, the way we used him, we bumped him up obviously with the [T.J.] Oshie injury. Our PK got a lot better. Fits in well with his teammates. It's a really good fit for us, yes." 

The Penguins traded Hagelin to the Kings on Nov. 14. He was a key part of Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Stanley Cup winners in 2016 and 2017, which came at the expense of Washington in the playoffs each time. 

This was the last year of a four-year, $16 million deal that Hagelin signed with the Anaheim Ducks in 2015. He was always viewed as a likely trade chip for Los Angeles, which finished in last place in the Pacific Division and eventually flipped him to the Capitals. 

Even after the disappointing first-round Stanley Cup playoff loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, Hagelin said he was open to re-signing with the Capitals before he hit unrestricted free agency on July 1. His signing follows the trade of defenseman Matt Niskanen on Friday. The NHL Draft is this coming weekend in Vancouver with more moves expected.   

“I liked the fact that I got a good look from the coaches,” Hagelin said on April 26 of his time with the Capitals. “I got to play with good players, I got to play in key situations. I felt comfortable here.”

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Orioles welcome home military service member with surprise first pitch

Orioles welcome home military service member with surprise first pitch

The Orioles helped make one family's Father's Day a day that they will never forget. 

Specialist Addam Bostwick from Fort George G. Meade United States Army installation surprised his father, former Marine Stephen Bostwick, with a special ceremonial first pitch Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

Stephen, who is a four-year veteran of the US Marine Corps, was expecting an Orioles player to catch the first pitch, was shocked to see Addam, who had been deployed in Afghanistan for four months, surprised his father.

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