NCAA wins federal ruling keeping suit vs. state over Penn State sanctions alive

Gov. Tom Corbett has lost his bid to have tossed or delayed a federal lawsuit brought by the NCAA over how $60 million in fine money imposed against Penn State can be spent.

The ruling is a win for the NCAA, which is suing Corbett, in his capacity as governor, and other state officials. The NCAA argues that the Endowment Act, a Pennsylvania law to keep the fine money from being spent outside the state, violates the U.S. constitution.

Corbett and the other defendants in the case, including Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and Treasurer Rob McCord, asked that the case be tossed or put on hold because the constitutionality of the law was already being debated by a state court.

U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane on Thursday issued an order denying the motions.

On Friday, Kane ordered a telephone conference for Aug. 14 so the sides can set a timeline for how the case will move forward.

The state Commonwealth Court, meanwhile, has set a January trial date in a lawsuit State Sen. Jake Corman, R, Benner Township, filed to force the NCAA to abide by the Endowment Act.

Previously, the state court ruled that the act was constitutional in its review of the Corman suit, but it stopped short of forcing the NCAA to comply, meaning that state lawsuit will continue to trial.

Corman proposed the Endowment Act and Gov. Tom Corbett signed it, which prompted the NCAA to sue the governor, the state treasurer, the state auditor, and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency in federal court.

Under the Endowment Act, if universities and colleges in Pennsylvania are fined more than $10 million, the money would be paid into the state treasury.

The $60 million fine that is the basis for these lawsuits was authorized when Penn State signed a consent decree with the NCAA. The money is supposed to go toward creating an endowment to fund child sex abuse prevention and awareness programs, and an NCAA task force will determine how the money is spent, according to the consent decree.

The fine was one of a number of sanctions levied against the university for the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in state prison for molesting young boys, and three former top Penn State administrators are awaiting trial for allegedly covering up allegations of abuse.