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Corman lawsuit against NCAA could go to trial in January

State Sen. Jake Corman, D-Benner Township, talks with reporters after a news conference in January 2013 when he announced a lawsuit against the NCAA.
State Sen. Jake Corman, D-Benner Township, talks with reporters after a news conference in January 2013 when he announced a lawsuit against the NCAA. CDT file photo

State Sen. Jake Corman’s lawsuit against the NCAA that seeks to keep millions of dollars in sanctions imposed against Penn State from leaving Pennsylvania could go to trial in January.

Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey filed a scheduling order, posted online Thursday, setting a timeline for how the case will proceed.

Discovery must be complete by Sept. 8, and the trial is set to begin Jan. 6 if the case isn’t resolved by then, according to the order.

The sides had a pre-trial telephone conference earlier this week to hash out the details.

Corman, R-Benner Township, said Thursday he is pleased with the ruling and thinks the schedule offers sufficient time to complete discovery.

“We think the sooner the better,” he said. “We are satisfied” with what the judge said.

Corman said that attorneys for the NCAA had asked the judge for two years for the discovery process.

An NCAA spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The organization suffered a blow in the case in April when the Commonwealth Court dismissed the NCAA’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Endowment Act, a 2013 Pennsylvania law that would keep the sanction money in the state.

It was an early victory for Corman, the act’s author, and state treasurer Rob McCord, who are seeking enforcement of the law.

Although the court in April found the act to be constitutional, it stopped short of immediately enforcing it, meaning the lawsuit will continue.

Penn State entered into the consent decree with the NCAA, agreeing to pay the $60 million fine to avoid facing the so-called death penalty and halting football in Happy Valley for perhaps four years.

The university also agreed to a postseason ban, scholarship reductions and the erasing of 111 wins from the Joe Paterno era.

The sanctions stem from the university’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case.

Sandusky was sentenced to serve 30 to 60 years in state prison for sexually abusing young boys. Three former top Penn State administrators are awaiting trial on Dauphin County on charges that they covered up allegations against Sandusky.

In its April ruling, the court raised questions about the legality of the consent decree.

President Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote that he was “bewildered” that the Penn State board of trustees would enter into the agreement because the matter “ordinarily would not be actionable by the NCAA.”

The court in April forced Penn State to become a party in the lawsuit and said it needs more information about the consent decree before determining whether it was entered into legally.

Corman previously has said he is interested in expanding his lawsuit to pursue questions about the legality of the consent decree.

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