A Pennsylvania state representative believes that the $60 million in fines Penn State must pay as part of the NCAA sanctions against it for the way it handled the Sandusky sex abuse scandal should remain in Pennsylvania to help child victims here.
House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, sent a letter to the NCAA last month to inquire how the organization will distribute the money it collects.
The NCAA imposed hefty sanctions on Penn State in July, including the fine, a prohibition on bowl games for the next four years, and stripping the university of its football victories from 1998 to 2011.
As for the fine, at least $12 million per year is to be paid and will go into an endowment to prevent or help victims of child sexual abuse. When the sanctions were announced, the NCAA said a third party will determine what organizations will benefit from the money.
In a letter in response to Mr. Dermody, Kathleen T. McNeely, the NCAA's vice president of administration and chief financial officer, said a task force was being established to create policies and processes to determine how best to distribute the funds. She also wrote that she hoped it would receive many proposals from Pennsylvania.
But Mr. Dermody said he felt that the NCAA was telling him to "take a hike."
"The NCAA seems to be tone deaf to me on this," he said. "They don't have a structure set up. The NCAA needs to take a step back and be a little bit more open-minded in how they look at this."
In his response to Ms. McNeely, Mr. Dermody calls it "unacceptable" that the money will be used outside of Pennsylvania.
"Not only is this endowment being completely funded by Penn State with Pennsylvania dollars, but the endowment's very creation was sparked by a tragedy that occurred in Pennsylvania and which scarred the lives of Pennsylvania children," he wrote.
He expects to enlist the support of not only other legislators but the people of Pennsylvania, as well, to lobby the NCAA to change its policy.
"We, obviously, have the problem here, and we have the need," he said.
Amy Dunham, a spokeswoman for the NCAA, said the organization would address Mr. Dermody's concerns with him and not in the media. She also noted that the information on the task force should be posted on the NCAA website in the coming days.
David La Torre, a spokesman for Penn State, said the university will use its athletics reserve fund, capital maintenance budget and, if necessary, an internal bond issue to address the fine. He had no comment on how the money would be distributed.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2620.