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Penn State expects its student athletes to conduct themselves with the utmost integrity. Through the exhibition of high moral and ethical standards, student athletes may reach an exemplary academic level, as well as athletic achievement.


To be admitted to the University and to its baccalaureate programs, and to represent the University in intercollegiate competition is a distinct privilege and must be earned by promise and continuing performance.

Every student-athlete who participates in intercollegiate athletics becomes a member of a team. By accepting this privilege of team membership, the student-athlete accepts the following responsibilities in addition to his/her regular responsibilities as a student.


Intercollegiate Athletics considers that a student-athlete's major purpose at the University is to pursue an academic degree. The student-athlete has the responsibility of attending class on a regular basis, of completing all classroom assignments, and of conducting himself/herself in academic matters in ways that are consistent with acceptable classroom performance. The student-athlete is required to meet all University and college academic requirements as well as the eligibility rules of the NCAA and Big Ten Conference.

Intercollegiate Athletics has a sincere interest in the general welfare and academic achievement of every athlete. Because of this interest, Intercollegiate Athletics has designated an individual to assist student-athletes in their academic pursuits. It is the responsibility of the student-athlete to give full cooperation to college and departmental personnel in all matters of an academic nature.


The student-athlete is subject to the rules pertaining to his/her particular sport as established by the coaches and Intercollegiate Athletics. Of particular interest are the following:

  • The student-athlete must participate in practice and games, except when declared unfit by the team trainer or doctor, or is in any other way unable to participate through no fault of his/her own.
  • The student-athlete must obey the decisions of the coaches regarding manners and behavior on road games, including dress policies. The conduct of team members is the responsibility of the accompanying coaching staff.

Personal Conduct

A Penn State athlete is expected to be a responsible member of the team, contributing his/her energy and skill to the best of his/her ability and conforming to the self-discipline which membership implies.

Unethical conduct by student-athletes, as well as staff and coaches, shall be subject to disciplinary action as set forth in the NCAA enforcement procedures. Student-athletes found in violation may be ineligible for further intercollegiate competition. A student-athlete who is determined to engage in unethical conduct shall be ineligible for intercollegiate competition in all sports.

As stated in the NCAA Manual and below, unethical conduct consists of, but is not limited to:

  • Fraudulence in connection with entrance or placement examinations;
  • Engaging in any athletics competition under an assumed name or with intent otherwise to deceive;
  • Dishonesty in evading or violating NCAA regulations;
  • Knowingly furnishing the NCAA or the individual's institution with false or misleading information concerning the student's involvement in or knowledge of matters pertaining to a violation of NCAA regulations.
Media Relations

A student-athlete has a responsibility to the institution, coaches and teammates to cooperate with the media. The fans of the institution and those from the student-athlete's hometown are interested in the student-athlete's intercollegiate experience.

The opportunity for a student-athlete to deal with the media is a learning experience in developing communication skills which can be helpful not only during the intercollegiate experience, but in future professional and business careers.

  • A student-athlete should never agree to a telephone interview unless the arrangements have been coordinated by the Sports Information Office. This will permit the student-athlete to avoid contact by unauthorized persons who may attempt to gain and use information for gambling purposes. A member of the Sports Information Staff will arrange a time and place for the interview to be conducted.
  • The student-athlete should be aware of the importance of time in scheduled personal interviews or in returning telephone calls arranged by the Sports Information Office. If the student-athlete encounters problems in a scheduled appointment, the Sports Information Office should be notified immediately.
  • A student-athlete should not answer a question if he or she does not wish to respond to it. An appropriate response is "I'd rather not discuss the subject."
  • If a student-athlete does not feel comfortable with the questions, answers or general tone of the interview, he or she should summarize the interview and seek counsel with the Sports Information Office personnel.
  • A student-athlete should be aware that the acceptance of the individual, the team or the institution by the media is developed by the impressions made through the interview, feature stories and his or her self decorum.


Misconduct that may result in disciplinary action consists of the following offenses:

  1. Violation of written University policy or regulations contained in any official publication or administrative announcement of The Pennsylvania State University.
  2. Academic dishonesty, including, but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism.
  3. Disruption of operations of the University as defined in the "Policy Statement on Free Expression and Disruption."
  4. Harassment of an individual or group, where harassment is defined as a course of conduct which subjects a person or groups of persons to unwanted physical contact or the threat of such contact, or which seriously threatens or alarms a person or group.
  5. Furnishing false information to the University or other similar forms of dishonesty in University-regulated affairs, including knowingly making false oral or written statements to any University discipline board.
  6. Forgery, alteration, destruction or misuse of University documents, records, identification cards or papers.
  7. Failure to comply with directions of or to present identification to University officials acting in the performance of their duties, or refusal to respond to a request to report to an administrative office.
  8. Unauthorized entry into or use of University facilities.
  9. Use, possession, or carrying of firearms (including, but not limited to, pistols, rifles, shot guns, or ammunition), hand-billy, dirk knife or other dangerous knives, explosives, or other dangerous weapons while on University-owned or controlled property, or at University-sponsored or supervised activities.
  10. Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages on University property as defined in the "Policy Statement on Beverages Containing Alcohol."
  11. Use, possession, distribution, or being under the influence of controlled substances or unlawful drugs, except when permitted by law.
  12. Theft of or damage to property of the University or to property of any of its members or visitors or knowing of possession of stolen property.
  13. Sexual assault and abuse as defined in the "Policy Statement on Sexual Assault and Abuse."
  14. Physical abuse of any person.
  15. Disorderly conduct or lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct.
  16. Sexual harassment as defined in the "Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment."
  17. Causing or participating in hazing, as defined in the policy relating to registration of student organizations.
  18. Behavior that would constitute a violation of local, state, or federal law on University property, or off campus, when such behavior has a substantial adverse effect upon the University or upon individual members of the University community.
  19. Aiding, abetting, or attempting to commit an act or action that would constitute an offense under any provision of the Code of Conduct.
  20. Conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of person.


Statement On Intolerance

The University is committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed towards individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others. As an educational institution, the University has a mandate to address problems of a society deeply ingrained with bias and prejudice. Toward that end, the University provides educational programs and activities to create an environment in which diversity and understanding of other cultures are valued.

Acts of intolerance violate the principles upon which American society is built and serve to destroy the fabric of the society we share. Such actions not only do untold and unjust harm to the dignity, safety and well-being of those who experience this pernicious kind of discrimination but also threaten the reputation of the University and impeded the realization of the University’s educational mission.

An act of intolerance refers to conduct that is in violation of a University policy, rule or regulation and is motivated by discriminatory bias against or hatred toward other individuals or groups based on characteristics such as age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, political belief, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to preventing and eliminating acts of intolerance by faculty, staff and students and encourages anyone in the University community to report concerns and complaints about acts of intolerance to the Affirmative Action Office or the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, and in cases involving students, reports may also be made to the Office of Judicial Affairs.

If any violation of University policy, rule or regulation is motivated by discriminatory bias against or hatred toward an individual or group based on characteristics such as age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, political belief, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status, the sanction will be increased in severity and may include expulsion from the University.

The University prohibits retaliation against anyone who files a complaint and/or participates in an investigation involving alleged acts of intolerance. Retaliation constitutes a separate violation and may result in a sanction independent of the outcome of a complaint.

The expression of diverse views and opinions is encouraged in the University community. Further, the First Amendment of the United States’ Constitution assures the right of free expression. In a community which recognizes the rights of its members to hold divergent views and to express those views, sometimes ideas are expressed which are contrary to University values and objectives. Nevertheless, the University cannot impose disciplinary sanctions upon such expression when it is otherwise in compliance with University regulations.

Statement On Sexual Assault And Abuse

The Pennsylvania State University will not tolerate sexual assault or abuse, such as rape (including acquaintance rape) or other forms of nonconsensual sexual activity. These acts degrade the victims, our campus community, and society in general. While the University cannot control all the factors in society that lead to sexual assault and abuse, the University strives to create an environment that is free of acts of violence.

Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action, which may include separation from the University.

Sexual assault and abuse is nonconsensual physical contact of a sexual nature. Sexual assault and abuse can occur between acquaintances or parties unknown to each other.

Code of Ethics for Student-Athlete Alcohol Use

The Pennsylvania State University Intercollegiate Athletic Department expects each student to adhere to a set of standards that positively represents this Department and the University. The Athletic Department sets forth a code of ethics for alcohol and drug use to clearly define the Department's position regarding these issues. A student-athlete is responsible for following all Federal, State, University and Athletic Department guidelines pertaining to alcohol and drug use. The Code of Ethics for Alcohol Use is considered minimum guidelines, and each coach may set higher standards in a separate team policy.

  1. Drinking and driving a motor vehicle.
  2. Use of alcohol before, during or after department sponsored athletic events either at home or during road trips.
    Disclaimer: Situations pertaining to specific cultural norms may warrant Head Coach/Administrator discretion. If questions regarding appropriate behavior arise, the teams' administrator should be contacted.
  3. Use of alcohol that interferes with scholastic success, athletic performance, personal relationships, finances, or leads to legal problems.
  4. Irresponsible use and/or being intoxicated in a public place (i.e., downtown State College, hotels while on road trips, restaurants, etc.)
  5. Drinking in department-issued PSU Athletic Team Gear (i.e. apparel with specific sport name on it. )
  6. Drinking with recruits; specifically the individual host(s) responsible for the safety and well-being of the recruit.

Statement: In order to develop a positive culture at Penn State regarding alcohol, athletes need to be leaders in the fight against alcohol misuse. In the quest for excellence, both on and off the playing field, athletes need to make smart choices and realize the long-term athletic, career, and health benefits of choosing not to drink alcohol and/or drink responsibly after age 21.


Penn State and Intercollegiate Athletics do not condone the medically-unsupervised use, possession, sale, manufacture or distribution of drugs that are illegal, that may involve medical or psychological hazards to individuals, or that may tend to interfere with the rights and privileges of others.

The student-athlete will annually, prior to participation in intercollegiate competition during the academic year, sign a statement in a form prescribed by the NCAA and Penn State in which he or she consents to be tested for the use of drugs prohibited by NCAA legislation. Failure to complete and sign the statement annually shall result in the student-athlete's ineligibility for participation in all intercollegiate competition. Penn State has a drug-screening program for all 29 intercollegiate sports and provides educational opportunities to enhance the student-athletes' awareness of the effects of substance abuse.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of this institution. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students.

At the beginning of each course, it is the responsibility of the instructor to provide a statement clarifying the application of academic integrity criteria to that course. A student charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge by the instructor.

If students believe they have been falsely accused, they should seek redress through informal discussions with the instructor, department head, dean or campus executive officer. If the instructor believes that the infraction is sufficiently serious to warrant the referral of the case to the Office of Conduct Standards, or if the instructor will award a final grade of "F" in the course because of the infraction, the student and faculty member will be afforded formal due process procedures.

Class Attendance

A student should attend every class for which he or she is scheduled and be held responsible for all work covered in the courses taken. In each case, the instructor will decide when the class absence constitutes a danger to the students scholastic attainment and make this fact known to the student at once.

A student whose irregularity in attendance causes him or her, in the judgment of the instructor, to become deficient scholastically, may run the risk of receiving a failing grade or receiving a lower grade than the student might have secured had the student been in regular attendance.

Instructors should provide, within reason, opportunity to make up work for students who miss class for regularly scheduled, University-approved curricular and extracurricular activities (such as field trips, debate trips, choir trips, and athletic contests), and other legitimate reasons.

However, if such scheduled trips are considered by the instructor to be hurting the student-athlete's scholastic performance, the instructor should present such evidence for necessary action to the head of the department in which the course is offered and to the dean of the college in which the student-athlete is enrolled or to the Division of Undergraduate Studies if the student-athlete is enrolled in that division.

The value of attending every scheduled class cannot be overemphasized. Intercollegiate Athletics strongly supports the University's policy on this subject.

Time Management

Establish priorities! The first priority of a student-athlete is to be a student and the second priority is to be an athlete. It also is recognized that social involvement is an important aspect of a student-athletes college experience. However, it should not take precedence over academic and athletic endeavors.

Each student-athlete has his or her own method of preparing for class. The following list has been compiled from student-athletes who were successful in the classroom:

  • Set goals for each course and work diligently to achieve those goals.
  • Attend all classes unless you have been legally excused for an intercollegiate athletics contest and have been issued an excuse signed by the NCAA Faculty Representative.
  • Arrive at class on time, so that you will hear any pertinent announcements, such as changes in the course syllabus, test dates, deadlines, or room assignments.
  • Be alert and well-prepared for each class. Concentrate on the lecture and other class proceedings, take appropriate notes, and participate in class discussions.
  • Keep up with the class work on a daily basis. Prepare yourself for each class by reviewing previous lecture notes, reading assignments before each class, and working methodically on your assignments so that last-minute "cramming" can be avoided.
  • Complete all assignments and submit them on time. If there are extenuating circumstances, consult the course instructor prior to any deadline. You are never excused from class assignments because of competition.
  • Alert course instructors so that they will expect absences due to athletic trips. Check your athletic schedule against the test dates, especially the final exam schedule.