The NCAA thinks state Sen. Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord have been “blinded to reality.”
In documents filed Thursday in Commonwealth Court, NCAA attorneys called the arguments brought by the two Pennsylvania officials to force compliance with the Endowment Act legislation that would keep the $60 million in fines levied after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania a “conspiracy theory.”
This language comes after back-and-forth arguments between the two on the issue of privilege.
Corman and McCord have questioned hundreds of documents the NCAA has redacted, claiming the protection of attorney-client communication or work product, or in a new assertion, joint interest with the Big Ten.
More than 400 documents are already being reviewed by the court for the claim, the plaintiffs have asked the court to direct the NCAA’s cooperation on depositions where Corman and McCord think the privilege is being overly invoked and another request for document review was made Friday.
“The entire purpose of plaintiffs latest motion is to continue down this legally irrelevant and factually distorted path and to suggest that the NCAA’s assertion of a well-established privilege indicates that it is hiding something. But there is no merit to the motion,” wrote Thomas Scott, of the Harrisburg law firm Killian and Gephart LLP.
The NCAA also took aim at the plaintiffs’ brief filed Monday regarding the consent decree, the document that led to the NCAA’s sanctions against the university, including the fine. In that, attorneys agreed the consent decree was not signed under duress, in response to an NCAA filing that said duress could not be claimed if a party had assistance of counsel, which Penn State did.
“Despite plaintiffs’ rhetoric and public relations campaign, the actual facts revealed in discovery are quickly and decisively undermining any challenge they may contemplate asserting against the validity of the consent decree,” Scott wrote.
The Endowment Act has been upheld as constitutional by the court. The consent decree will be argued in a trial ordered by Judge Anne Covey in January.
Covey previously ruled against the NCAA on the privilege issues and directing the documents to be submitted for an in camera review.
According to the NCAA, “not a single witness” deposed in the case to date “has contested that the NCAA and Penn State had unqualified authority” to enter into the consent decree. Corman and McCord have questioned whether the NCAA had that authority.