State Sen. Jake Corman’s bill to keep the NCAA’s $60 million Penn State fine in the commonwealth passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday.
Under the proposed law, the fine money would go into an endowment fund to be disbursed by the state treasurer for programs to prevent child sex abuse.
The use of the funds would fall under the guidelines of the consent decree agreed on by Penn State and the NCAA, but Corman, R-Benner Township, wants to make sure all the funds are used in Pennsylvania.
“Obviously we’re very happy (the bill) got through as quickly as it did,” Corman said, adding that this is one of three big steps that need to be taken, with the other two being the House vote and the governor’s approval.
The bill must go before the state House for a vote before it can be sent to the governor to be signed. Corman hasn’t received firm information on when the House will be putting the bill to a vote, but he said they understand the importance of a bill and should he hopes they will move quickly on it.
Corman is optimistic that the House will pass the bill and send it on to Gov. Tom Corbett, who spoke out in favor of the bill when it was introduced.
State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, said he personally supports the bill and doesn’t think it will have too much trouble clearing the rest of the House.
He noted that all of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky’s victims were from Pennsylvania and that the NCAA owes it to them to keep the money in the state.
“There are more than ample organizations in Pennsylvania that can put this money to good use,” Benninghoff said.
Corman said the most important thing is keeping the money that was generated in Pennsylvania in the commonwealth and his colleagues understand that.
“I think most if not all members of the House would agree with that,” he said.
Corman filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the NCAA for the same purpose, and the organization has agreed not to spend the $12 million already paid by the university until the matter is resolved.
The fine is part of the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and the release of the Louis Freeh report, which alleged a cover-up by some university officials.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.