PETITION: NCAA & B1G should match $60 million for child abuse prevention & research
We call on the NCAA and Big Ten Conference to individually match the penalty monies they imposed on The Pennsylvania State University towards the research, prevention, treatment, and support of Child Sexual Victimization
Jerry Sandusky used his charity, The Second Mile, to find and abuse what is likely dozens of children over at least 20 years in central Pennsylvania. Many outsiders have come to believe, based on the lies and omissions of the media and the Freeh Report, that Penn State, especially Joe Paterno, was actively involved in a cover up Sandusky’s crimes. Moreover, the public was erroneously led to believe that it was Sandusky’s access to Penn State football facilities that enabled his crimes. In summary, the media and Louis Freeh ignored the facts that didn’t fit the narrative of a Penn State cover-up and in so doing kept the public in the dark about how “pillar of the community” offenders operate.
The NCAA was one of those who simply went along with Freeh Report, without even reading the report in some cases (see depositions of Bob Williams and Ed Ray). In July of 2012 they handed down unprecedented sanctions against Penn State Football including a 4 year bowl ban, reduction of scholarships, suspension of transfer restrictions, the creation of an athletics integrity monitor, the stripping of 112 victories, and of course a $60 million fine to be used towards child sexual abuse charities. The President of the NCAA stated that Penn State caused “damage” to the victims and their families when announcing the sanctions:
“The Penn State case has provoked in all of us deeply powerful emotions and shaken our most fundamental confidence in many ways. As we – the Executive Committee, the Division I Board and I – have examined and discussed this case, we have kept foremost in our thoughts the tragic damage that has been done to the victims and their families.”
The Big Ten took the opportunity to add to the punishment, instituting censure, probation, ineligibility for the conference championship, and an addition fine equal to 4 years of B1G bowl revenue or approximately $13M. Their statement noted that Penn State damaged the victims and their families:
“We must begin first and foremost, by again expressing our great sorrow for all of those whose lives have been so grievously harmed by the series of failures at Penn State University, particularly the lives of the young victims and their families.”
Many sources have since documented the massive failings of both Freeh’s methodology and conclusions. The Prosecutor in the case, Frank Fina, explicitly stated that no evidence was found to indicate Paterno was involved in any cover up -- and he had vastly more access to evidence than Freeh . Through multiple lawsuits and RTKL requests related to the issue, evidence has since come to light that Freeh was neither independent, nor thorough and due to this, the NCAA and B1G sanctions which were based on the Freeh report have been mostly rescinded. Documents made public in the Corman v. NCAA lawsuit showed that the NCAA and B1G regularly collaborated and guided Freeh, even going so far as to call their move for the consent decree a “bluff.” The recent settlement in Corman & McCord v. NCAA (which was attempting to keep all fines paid by Penn State within the Commonwealth) restored Joe Paterno & Tom Bradley’s wins, the last of the “on-field” sanctions, but the fine was left in place along with the monitor. More recently the B1G has now stated that Penn State will again receive its full share of bowl revenue.
The only way to logically view such capitulation is that the NCAA and B1G are admitting they had little power to do what they did, and did not want an actual trial to reveal such a fact, or worse. Unfortunately for them there is still a trial pending, and one they likely can’t avoid, brought by the estate of Joe Paterno.
Interestingly the recent release of almost 5000 pages of evidence in the Corman suit revealed one strategy the NCAA was using to attempt to fight the suit was attempting to embarrass Senator Corman by suggesting the $60 million meant for children’s programs would be delayed or even removed entirely if he won his suit. Ironically it was the NCAA’s own lawyers who brought the validity of the sanctions into play and thus the possibility of removal of the money, as Senator Corman was only arguing for the money to stay in state. Per the deposition of Senator Corman by NCAA lawyers:
Q: “Have you explained to anybody outside this room that you're seeking to invalidate the consent decree and that the result of what you're asking for would be no money to the victims and child abuse organizations here in the State of Pennsylvania?”
“At no time did the court ever deny the NCAA from making contributions to organizations that assist victims of abuse. I have one question: Why hasn't the NCAA honored its original intent of having $60 million go nationwide to assist children who are sexually abused?"
Not only was there no reason that the NCAA or any other concerned party could have donated monies to help child sexual abuse causes, the actual agreement upon which the $60 million was based contained no governance language which stated the NCAA would control the fine, or that it would be used nationally as opposed to in Pennsylvania. Therefore it was actually the NCAA itself what was preventing the monies from being distributed by suing to use the money as they pleased.
The NCAA is a huge corporate entity that generates billions of dollars of revenue. The recent College Football Playoff contract signed with ESPN in 2012 was a 12 year deal for more than $5.6B. In 2010 the NCAA signed a 14 year deal with CBS/Turner to broadcast the NCAA Basketball tournament for almost $11B According to a USA Today story, the NCAA had over $900M in revenue for fiscal 2013, net assets of $627M (including an endowment of $326M), and a $61M surplus.
That’s a $61M surplus for a “non-profit” entity.
The B1G is a similarly successful entity, reporting revenues of approximately $315M, and an after tax profit of $13.4M in 2013. Not surprisingly both the head of the B1G and NCAA, Jim Delaney and Mark Emmert, got hefty raises for such performance.
For these reasons we call on the NCAA and Big Ten, individually, to match the funds that Penn State Athletics is providing towards the research, prevention, and treatment of child sexual abuse.