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Pa. House Leader Asks NCAA who Makes up Task Force to Allocate Funds

by on September 17, 2012 1:16 PM

Updated at 4:16 p.m.

In a letter Pa. House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody recently wrote to the NCAA, he questioned who will comprise the "Task Force" designated to decide where Penn State's $60 million fine will be allocated, urging the appointment of Penn Staters to the force. 

In his letter dated Sept. 14, Dermody wrote that according to the NCAA, a task force is being established to create policies and processes to determine how to allocate and distribute the endowment funds, which total $60 million. According to Penn State's "progress" site, the funds will be distributed in five annual installments of $12 million.

The NCAA said Aug. 28 the task force will be comprised of "national experts on child abuse and the administration of endowments," according to the press release. Dermody asked that the NCAA include Pa. residents and victims' advocacy groups on the panel.

"Pennsylvania must be represented on that Task Force, and the voices and needs of Pennsylvania victims of child sexual abuse must be at the core of the Task Force's mission," Dermody wrote.

Earlier at 1:16 p.m.

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody has asked the NCAA to commit all monies from the Penn State-funded endowment for child sexual abuse programs and organizations within the state.

Dermody sent a letter to the NCAA after he received a letter from NCAA officials on Aug. 28. The letter said the endowment would be open to organizations and programs nationwide.

In his letter, Dermody said plans to make the endowment national was "unacceptable" and is now pushing for a firm commitment to make the endowment limited only to Pennsylvania groups.

Dermody (D-Allegheny) wrote: "It is my firm belief, and the belief of many Pennsylvanians, that 100 percent of this money must remain in Pennsylvania to fund programs and services to help child sexual abuse victims here. 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.

"This was a Pennsylvania tragedy with Pennsylvania victims, and this is Pennsylvania money," Dermody continued. "An endowment created under such Pennsylvania-specific circumstances should require that all funds go to Pennsylvania programs and organizations."

In a news release from the Pa. House of Representatives, Dermody said that while many Pa. organizations are working to fight child sexual abuse and to help victims of abuse, state funding for such programs has been slashed by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The new $60 million endowment, which would be funded by Penn State under a consent agreement with the NCAA as part of its sanctions, "would help soften the impact of those painful budget cuts and enable these programs to reach the children who so desperately need help," Dermody wrote.

"As you know, the wounds from the tragedy that occurred at Penn State are fresh for those of us who live and work here in Pennsylvania every day – and especially for the victims and their families, the Penn State students, faculty, staff and community," Dermody wrote. "We are united in our commitment to heal together and to prevent this kind of horror from ever happening again. This endowment can go a long way toward achieving those goals."

"I strongly urge the NCAA to respect and recognize how important it is to Pennsylvania child abuse prevention efforts, Pennsylvania child abuse victim support programs and Pennsylvanians in general, that Pennsylvania victims and families are the first and only priority with regard to this endowment,"Dermody continued. "Every single dollar of this endowment should remain in Pennsylvania to help Pennsylvania victims."

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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