STATE COLLEGE - Pennsylvania congressmen voiced displeasure Thursday with how the NCAA president responded to a request from the state's U.S. House delegation that all of the $60 million in Penn State fines in the Sandusky child molestation scandal be distributed to causes within the state.
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15th District, said in a statement that Mark Emmert's response was "unacceptable and unsatisfactory."
In a Nov. 30 letter, delegation members - including Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-5th District, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, Rep.-elect Keith Rothfus, R-12th District, and outgoing 12th District Rep. Mark Critz - noted that Sandusky's accusers were all Pennsylvania residents and that all the "substantiated reports of abuse took place within the Commonwealth."
They urged that all fine money be dedicated to prevention and assistance programs in Pennsylvania.
The NCAA president said in a Dec. 12 letter to Dent, released by the congressman's office, that the task force charged with developing guidelines for the endowment and hiring an administrator to distribute the funds is to allocate at least 25 percent of the fine money to programs in Pennsylvania.
"By outlining comprehensive plans to address child sexual abuse, of course, agencies within Pennsylvania have an opportunity to significantly increase the initial allocation to the Commonwealth," Emmert added.
An NCAA spokeswoman on Thursday said the organization stood by the Emmert's correspondence.
The first of five annual installments of $12 million was due Thursday, to be held in a money market account while the task force works on recommendations due to the NCAA's executive committee in early 2013.
"The endowment created by the NCAA sanctions should solely go towards programs to help child sex abuse victims of Pennsylvania. That money was intended for the residents of Pennsylvania and should remain in the Commonwealth," said Gretchen Gailey, a spokeswoman for Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District.
Dent said Emmert's reply didn't address the delegation's concerns but "instead chose to hide behind the procedural mechanisms of the NCAA-created Task Force in order to deflect any sort of actual accountability for the disbursement of these funds."
Of the 10 members on the task force, two are affiliated with Penn State: Nan Crouter, dean of the college of health and human Development; and Craig Hillemeier, vice dean for clinical affairs at the college of medicine. The task force chairman is Timothy White, chancellor of the University of California-Riverside.
"Directing Commonwealth-generated funds to entities outside of the Commonwealth runs contrary to the Pennsylvania taxpayers' interests," Dent said. "I am greatly disappointed by Dr. Emmert's response and will continue to press for greater accountability and oversight of the NCAA on this and other matters."
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted this summer of 45 counts involving boys on and off campus. He is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term and maintains his innocence.
Three former school administrators also face trial on charges of perjury, obstruction and other offenses. They deny the allegations. The scandal led to the dismissal of head coach Joe Paterno and elicited landmark NCAA sanctions that include a four-year postseason ban and significant scholarship cuts.
The NCAA, the governing body for college athletics, issued the fine against the athletic department, as part of sanctions over the school's handling of the Sandusky matter.