$60 million fine: State senator seeking to keep funds in state

Sen. Jake Corman sues NCAA to keep Penn State fine money in Pa.

mdawson@centredaily.comJanuary 5, 2013 

State Sen. Jake Corman sued the NCAA on Friday to stop it from using money from Penn State’s $60 million fine to pay for child abuse prevention programs outside Pennsylvania.

In the suit filed in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg, Corman said the state gives Penn State so much money — $214 million this fiscal year — that the university could not pay the fine without state help.

The lawsuit is the second lawsuit in three days by state government against the NCAA, with Gov. Tom Corbett’s federal antitrust suit on Wednesday seeking a reversal of all the NCAA’s sanctions, including the fine.

The NCAA’s plan to use 75 percent of the $60 million, or $45 million, for prevention programs outside Pennsylvania violates the state’s constitution on the grounds lawmakers review and oversee the university’s spending, Corman said. That cannot be circumvented by the NCAA’s forcing Penn State to sign the consent decree that included the sanctions, the suit said.

Corman has been one of the most vocal opponents to the NCAA’s plan for how the fine money will be spent. Corman said he tried appealing to NCAA President Mark Emmert, even offering to go to Indianapolis to meet face to face, but the senator was rebuffed.

Corman, R-Benner Township, is the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, said the NCAA left him no choice but to file the lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for the NCAA declined to comment.

Penn State paid the first installment last month by depositing $12 million in an escrow account that is under the control of the NCAA while the task force created to manage the money is being formed.

The NCAA told Penn State it could not cut athletics programs to pay for the fine. A university website that tracks the university’s progress in responding to fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, officials have a disclaimer that the money for the fine will not be paid with state money. Instead, the university said the fine is expected to be paid out of football reserve funds, the university said.

A Penn State spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Local lawmakers and victims’ advocates have long said they would like to see the $60 million stay within the borders of the state. Corman said in the suit there are plenty of underfunded and unfunded causes in the state that the money could support.

In Centre County, officials have been working to start a children’s advocacy center, or a child-friendly place for interviews and medical testing after they were victimized or saw a crime. And a Pennsylvania task force composed of victims advocates said it wants to see the creation of more children’s advocacy centers spread throughout the state.

 

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