Penn State

Big Ten restores Penn State’s future bowl revenues

The Penn State Blue Band performs at halftime of the Pinstripe Bowl to a sold-out crowd of 49,012 at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27. The Big Ten announced Thursday that it would restore Penn State’s share of conference postseason revenue, which had been held after NCAA sanctions were imposed against the university after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The Penn State Blue Band performs at halftime of the Pinstripe Bowl to a sold-out crowd of 49,012 at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27. The Big Ten announced Thursday that it would restore Penn State’s share of conference postseason revenue, which had been held after NCAA sanctions were imposed against the university after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. CDT photo

One of the questions that has lingered in the minds of Penn State supporters since the repeal of the consent decree with the NCAA has centered on another sports organization.

What about the Big Ten? When would the university get back its share of bowl revenues?

The Big Ten answered that question Thursday morning.

“The Big Ten, through its Council of Presidents/Chancellors ... has confirmed that Penn State will receive a full share of conference bowl revenue beginning with the 2015 season. The Big Ten’s original bowl fine was based on NCAA actions, most of which have been rescinded over the past six months. As a result, the COP/C supported restoration of Penn State’s bowl revenue effective with the 2015-16 academic year,” Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said in an email to the Centre Daily Times.

According to the university, in 2013 and 2014, Penn State’s share of bowl revenues was divided among the other members of the Big Ten, with the funds going to child-related groups in those areas.

Penn State’s revenues were withheld as part of the Big Ten’s sanctions after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. All of the NCAA punishments with the exception of the $60 million fine disappeared with the January settlement of the lawsuit brought by state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and former treasurer Rob McCord against the university and the NCAA.

Penn State athletics spokesman Jeff Nelson said the 2011-12 share of the revenue was $2.6 million, but that was distributed to the Centre for the Protection of Children at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital in May 2012. The last time bowl funds were directed into the athletic budget was after the 2010-11 season, when the revenue was $2.49 million, Nelson said.

“We are grateful to the Big Ten and the Council of Presidents and Chancellors for their decision to restore Penn State’s share of the Conference bowl revenues ...” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement. “These funds will help to support our 31 teams and more than 850 student-athletes.”

At least one person is not happy about this.

“This is not a good deal. I am so upset with this,” trustee Anthony Lubrano said.

His sticking point is that the back funds are not being returned.

“I want all of it. Every last penny. It should never have been taken in the first place,” he said.

Lubrano said that part of his concern with the settlement was the issue of the bowl funds and the future of the athletic integrity agreement, which also involves the Big Ten.

“There is no way I would have agreed,” Lubrano said, adding that he specifically asked about bowl revenue during the board of trustees executive session in January.

He was also upset with some of the other statements made surrounding the announcement.

“While we are pleased with the decision, we will not waver in our commitment to prevent child abuse, to maintain our leading compliance and safety programs and to continue to invest in our teaching and research efforts focused on child abuse prevention and treatment,” Barron said in the university’s release.

“I am sick and tired of us kowtowing to political correctness,” Lubrano said. “The last time I checked, our mission was to provide an affordable education to middle-class families, not to eradicate pedophilia. That should be all of society’s mission.”

Athletic director Sandy Barbour is happy to see the resolution.

“We are very appreciative of the decision made by the conference presidents and chancellors as these funds are vital to our ability to continue to create the very best conditions for success for our student athletes,” she said. “This is yet another step in allowing today’s student athletes all the opportunities they deserve.”

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