Penn State's NCAA fine should stay in Pennsylvania, lawmaker urges

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HARRISBURG -- The chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee said this morning he is introducing legislation that would keep within the commonwealth the $60 million NCAA fine agreed to by Penn State University in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case.

The proposal received the immediate support of Gov. Tom Corbett, who released a statement criticizing the NCAA for imposing a "harsh, unjustified and unprecedented punishment."

Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, told Capitol reporters this morning he believes the money should benefit Pennsylvania residents because it will come from a public university.

"When I spoke to the NCAA, they believed this was a national problem and therefore it should have a national response," Mr. Corman said. "My reaction is I don't necessarily disagree with that, and if the NCAA wants to match this fine, or if they want to raise money nationally, they should feel free to do that. But why they're taking money out of Pennsylvania and putting it toward a program in California I think is an indefensible position."

Mr. Corman also said he plans to file a lawsuit, likely next week, to prevent the NCAA from disbursing fine money outside Pennsylvania before his proposal can be put into effect.

Mr. Corbett, a Republican, released a statement saying it was easy for him to support legislation on the financial sanctions.

He also criticized the NCAA for the severity of its punishment.

"The NCAA, as an athletic trade association, overstepped its authority by forcing Penn State to endure harsh, unjustified and unprecedented punishment," the governor said.

The legislation would require the fine to be paid into an endowment with proceeds spent within Pennsylvania for the "exclusive benefit" of state residents. The restriction would apply to fines of at least $10 million imposed by consent decrees between institutions of higher education and a governing body.

The NCAA announced the fine and other sanctions in July. The consent decree includes a four-year ban on postseason play, a four-year reduction in the number of players on scholarship and the canceling of all Penn State football wins from 1998 to 2011.

The $60 million fine, which the NCAA said equaled the approximate average of one year's gross football revenue, would be paid over five years into an endowment for programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims of abuse.

The decree bans the proceeds from use for Penn State programs.

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Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141. First Published December 27, 2012 12:45 AM


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