Duress is not a factor in state Sen. Jake Corman and state Treasurer Rob McCord’s Commonwealth Court suit to enforce the Endowment Act.
“The NCAA’s pending motion allows pause to say what this case is and is not about, both legally and factually. First, what it is not about. This case is not about a legal claim of duress,” said Corman’s attorney Matthew Haverstick, of Conrad O’Brien, P.C., of Philadelphia in a response to the NCAA’s motion for partial summary judgment Monday.
The college sports organization had gone to lengths in its filing to point out that co-defendant Penn State could not claim duress in signing the consent decree that allowed for unprecedented punishments including the $60 million fine in contention with the Endowment Act, which would keep that money in Pennsylvania. The reason, they said, was that duress can’t be claimed if the subject is represented by counsel and Penn State had at least five attorneys at the time.
Haverstick’s response is that argument is totally immaterial since the university never claimed duress. What the Corman camp does question is the validity of the consent decree at all, which is set to be argued at trial in January.
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“This case is absolutely about whether the NCAA had authority to impose sanctions on its member institution, Penn State, through a no-negotiation, take-it-or-leave-it consent decree,” wrote Haverstick.
The new filing spends 22 pages laying out a timeline for the investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, the announcement of the Freeh report and the handing down of the sanctions. The attorneys argue that, from the beginning, it was clear that the NCAA was going in a direction it did not really have the authority to go.
“I feel like it is a bit of a runaway train right now,” wrote NCAA Vice President of Academic and Membership Affairs Kevin Lennon in an email.
That was on one of 224 pages of exhibits accompanying the response.
“The NCAA’s motion is, at best, an attempt to secure a favorable ruling on a legal issue that is neither relevant nor material to the resolution of this matter, and is, at worst, an attempt to preclude material events from a full airing at trial,” Haverstick wrote, asking Judge Anne Covey to deny the defense motion.