Pa. House passes bill to keep Penn State fine money in-state, Gov.'s signature expected

By Jon Campisi | Feb 14, 2013

A bill by a state lawmaker designed to keep within the commonwealth the fine money

Penn State University is paying to the NCAA arising from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal has passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Legislative leaders announced on Feb. 13 that Senate Bill 187, which had been sponsored by Sen. Jake Corman, (R-34), and provides that Penn State’s $60 million fine by the National Collegiate Athletic Association be paid into Pennsylvania’s state treasury, is now headed to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk for his signature.

“I am very happy the House of Representatives was able to move quickly and pass this bill,” Corman said in a statement. “I think it’s pretty clear that this issue is important to the Commonwealth and the right approach for handling the fine money.”

The NCAA levied various sanctions on Penn State, including the multi-million dollar fine and canceling many of the school’s football team’s wins, as punishment in the wake of the Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions, was convicted on 45 counts of child sex-abuse last summer and subsequently sent to prison for between three to six decades.

Corbett, who was state attorney general before being elected governor, has since challenged the sanctions the NCAA levied on Penn State, arguing in a federal lawsuit that the sanctions violate federal antirust laws.

The NCAA is seeking to dismiss the action, which is currently pending before a U.S. District judge in Harrisburg.

Meanwhile, Corman, who represents a district that includes State College, Pa., unveiled S.B. 187 to prevent the NCAA from distributing Penn State’s fine money nationwide.

Corman desired to have the money go toward in-state programs designed to prevent child sexual abuse and assist child molestation victims.

“The fine money is going to be generated in Pennsylvania by Pennsylvania residents,” Corman said in his statement. “Therefore, it is most appropriate for the money to stay here, in state, where it will do a lot of good.

“Additionally, I believe the fine money being distributed here in Pennsylvania will provide the most good,” Corman continued. “Spreading the money around nationally would have diluted the impact, whereas here in Pennsylvania, that money will go much further.”

The consent decree, which had been signed by Penn State and the NCAA, and is being challenged in federal court with Corbett’s lawsuit, is silent on where the endowment should be disturbed, according to Corman’s office.

Corman announced that Corbett has voiced support for the bill and is expected to sign the legislation.

“This is good policy and has received great support statewide,” Corman’s statement read. “I am glad we were able to get this done and look forward to the positive impact that will come out of the fine here in Pennsylvania.”

Corman’s legislation came on the heels of a civil suit the senator recently filed seeking injunctive relief prohibiting the NCAA from dispersing or otherwise dissipating any of the $12 million in fine money already paid by Penn State.

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