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College Football, Criminal Background Checks, and Penn State

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September 12, 2012 Return to News & Events

College Football, Criminal Background Checks, and Penn State

The tragedy of the child abuse scandal at Penn State remains in the headlines as severe penalties have been placed upon the football program as punishment for the criminal activities of Jerry Sandusky and the subsequent alleged cover-up. In response to these activities Penn State has announced policy changes in their hiring protocol.

As reported on on July 6, 2012, Pennsylvania State University "announced a new policy that requires final job applicants and third-party employees to undergo criminal background checks before approval of work at the university."

In reading a statement such as the one above one might wonder why every employee, direct or third-party, related to university employment would not be background checked.

The Penn State policy continues further:

...current employees in “sensitive/critical” positions also must complete the background check and all employees are required to disclose criminal arrests and convictions within 72 hours of their occurrence...|70|75|305|339|83|302|303

The article posted on does not delve deeper into the issue of what the previous policy may have been, but knowing that a university is a vast environment, where different departments may have different policies, this new protocol seemingly unifies the whole of Penn State's efforts to create a safer environment.

The article closes with a final comment from Susan Basso, Associate Vice President of Human Resources at Penn State:

"The updated background check policy reflects best practice and is part of a comprehensive program of due diligence and proactive safety measures,” said in the statement. "By consistent implementation of the policy, we'll ensure a safer environment for all of Penn State's employees, students and visitors.”

In a separate article on (July 6, 2012) related to the same subject, greater clarification to the new versus old policy is provided, as well as the breadth:

The updated policy covers all positions, academic and non-academic, unpaid positions and third-party employees working on Penn State's behalf, according to Penn State officials. The policy prior only provided background checks for academic positions and "other-than-academic" positions.
Third-party employees include interns, adjunct professors, consultants, temporary employees and contractors.

That Penn State is making an effort to change its background screening policies should be applauded. More importantly, the efforts of a bureaucracy as mammoth as a university should illustrate that all institutions, regardless of size, should have similar efforts.Background screening is a central element of risk management policies.

Companies and organizations across the country must utilize background screening, specifically criminal history checks and sex offender registry checks, to "ensure a safer environment."

The most efficient and effective means of conducting background checks are through the services of a third party company. Not only are they fully educated into the legal ramifications over the use of sensitive material and information, such as criminal histories, but they have the experience and knowledge to provide information in a safe, verified, and convenient manner. provides the services universities, colleges, and corporate America require in gathering pertinent background information. To learn more contact

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