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Task force named to oversee $60 million Penn St. fine

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 18, 2012 11:30 AM

Thumbnail image for penn-state.jpg(State College) -- A new NCAA task force will come up with guidelines for how to distribute the record $60 million fine that Penn State has agreed to pay in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

The money will fund programs designed to combat child sexual abuse and help victims around the country.

The 10-member task force will set policy and hire a third-party administrator who will choose which nonprofit groups receive the money each year.

``This fund will exist, presumably, for a long, long time, and putting it together right, putting a good solid foundation under it, a thoughtful philosophy under it, is just going to mean it will be an effective, respected source of funding in this area for a long time,'' said task force member Nan Crouter, dean of Penn State's College of Health and Human Development.

The NCAA imposed tough sanctions on Penn State over its handling of sex-abuse allegations against Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach convicted of abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

The governing body acted swiftly following a school-sanctioned report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh that accused coach Joe Paterno and three top officials of hiding child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky to protect the school and its powerful football program.

Paterno died in January at age 85. His family and the other school officials have all vehemently denied Freeh's allegations.

But the NCAA levied a four-year postseason ban, significant scholarship cuts and other sanctions to punish Penn State over its failure to report a serial child predator to authorities.

Penn State also agreed to pay $12 million a year for the next five years into an endowment to fund programs for the detection, prevention and treatment of child abuse.

Prominent Pennsylvania politicians including Republican Governor Tom Corbett and state House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody wanted the NCAA to keep all the funds in state. Instead, 25 percent of the annual grants will be reserved for Pennsylvania organizations. In-state groups will also receive the first round of funding.

``Recognizing that child sexual abuse is a national issue, the NCAA has determined that grants from the endowment will be available in other states as well,'' Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement. ``Penn State appreciates the commitments of the task force on this important endeavor that will help countless victims of child sexual abuse.''

An NCAA spokeswoman declined comment on a timetable for the first distribution of funds.

Penn State got to name two people to the task force: Dr. Craig Hillemeier, vice dean for clinical affairs at the medical school, and Crouter, who expressed high hopes for the money.

``I'm going into it hoping that we can come up with some good strong guidelines that will mean the money goes to worthy organizations that can make the most of it,'' she said. ``Just the existence of this fund will shine a light on this important area for years to come.''

Other members of the task force include administrators from other NCAA member schools; nonprofit executives including United Way Worldwide CEO Brian Gallagher; and a representative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The members of an NCAA task force are: 

Tim White, chancellor of University of California, Riverside (chairman)

Nan Crouter, dean of the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State

Rita Hartung Cheng, chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Craig Hillemeier, vice dean for clinical affairs at Penn State College of Medicine

Brian Gallagher, president and chief executive officer of United Way Worldwide 

Jane Lowe, team director of Vulnerable Populations Portfolio, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 

Harris Pastides, president, University of South Carolina 

Bryan Samuels, commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Pamela Shifman, director, Initiatives for Girls and Women, NoVo Foundation

Raymond Torres, vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and executive director of Casey Family Services

*This story was updated at 4:25 p.m.

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