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Park Ridge, Ill. –The Big Ten Conference is aware of the article on football official Stephen Pamon and conducted a background check on Pamon in 2005, along with all officials on staff at the time. At the conclusion of the 2005 background check, the conference office was notified of certain civil and criminal records for Pamon. Upon further third-party review, the conference was satisfied that the financial and criminal issues had been resolved at that time. It should be noted that the information collected during these background checks is considered confidential. 


Other details reported in the article represent new information which was not available during the 2005 review process. Some of this latest information was available in public records while other details were based on anonymous sources and hearsay statements. The conference office intends to follow-up on the veracity and accuracy of the new information and will also provide an opportunity for Pamon to respond as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 

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The Big Ten implemented a program for background checks on officials beginning with the 2005-06 academic year. All football and men’s and women’s basketball officials were checked by a third-party service for criminal and financial records prior to the 2005-06 seasons. In ensuing years, all new officials have received a background check with the intent of periodic checks thereafter. As a result of the new information contained in the aforementioned article, the Big Ten Conference will immediately adopt annual background checks on all football and men’s and women’s basketball officials. 


The Big Ten also has a code of conduct for all officials stating expectations for professionalism both on and off the field while prohibiting gambling on sports. Casino gambling was not prohibited by this code of conduct. In addition to the annual background checks, the conference office will begin a review of the permissibility of other forms of legalized gambling.