(Harrisburg) Commonwealth Court ruled today against all of the NCAA preliminary objections and in favor of Senator Jake Corman (R – Bellefonte), allowing the Corman legal challenge to keep the $60 million NCAA fine on Penn State University in Pennsylvania to move forward.
The next phase in the proceedings is a court ordered response by the NCAA and further steps may include a summary judgment motion, or discovery, allowing all relevant information and testimony, including testimony involving the NCAA decision making process with regard to the fine, to be gathered and presented.
“Obviously, I am happy with the decision,” said Corman. “The NCAA legal arguments were rejected on their merits by the Commonwealth Court and now there is no reason for the NCAA to further delay this fine money from being used to help children in Pennsylvania. This money is going to make a tremendous impact in the Commonwealth and the NCAA needs to follow state law.”
“Ultimately, we would have preferred a non-legal process to keep the fine money here in Pennsylvania, where it is being generated, but the NCAA believes otherwise,” Corman continued. “This decision brings us one major step closer to resolving the matter and having worthy child protection and sexual abuse advocacy programs in Pennsylvania begin receiving the funds.”
In July of 2012, the NCAA fined Penn State University as part of package of sanctions resulting from the Freeh Report and Sandusky scandal. The $60 million fine was levied on Penn State to be part of an endowment to fund “programs preventing child sexual abuse and/or assisting the victims of child sexual abuse.”
Subsequently, legislation prime sponsored by Senator Corman, established the endowment fund and parameters for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to distribute the funding to eligible entities in the Commonwealth. Under the new law, the fine money would begin to be allocated to for programs this year.
“As I have said from the beginning, the fine money is being derived in Pennsylvania and consequently altering the public mission of a state related university that receives public funds,” said Corman. “It makes perfect sense that the money should therefore stay in Pennsylvania. The NCAA has had every opportunity to accept this reality, but unfortunately, they have acted to challenge and delay the distribution of the fine money under the new law.”
When contacted last year by Senator Corman, the NCAA declared that their intention was to only provide a small portion of the fine money to Pennsylvania.
“I am hopeful this issue can be resolved in the near future,” said Corman. “The court action moves us closer to that goal and I am very happy with their ruling. The legislation we passed with overwhelming bipartisan support is consistent with the consent decree and is an appropriate use of funds derived from a state supported university.”
“If the NCAA would like to impact child sexual abuse on a national level I think everyone would be in support of their organization raising those funds through national private efforts,” added Corman. “In this case, the money is most appropriately distributed in Pennsylvania and is going to provide a great benefit here, helping Pennsylvania become a national model for child safety and victim support.”
Further information on the Commonwealth Court’s ruling can be found here: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Commonwealth/out/1MD13_9-4-13.pdf?cb=1