NCAA enters motion to dismiss lawsuit; Corman awaits ruling

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks at the organization’s annual convention in January 3013 in Grapevine, Texas.
NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks at the organization’s annual convention in January 3013 in Grapevine, Texas. AP file photo

The NCAA doesn’t want to fight anymore.

The overseer of college sports filed a motion Friday to drop its portion of the legal clash with state Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, and state Treasurer Rob McCord. NCAA attorneys claimed the litigation is moot. A ruling is expected Monday.

At issue is Corman’s contention that the consent decree of 2012 that imposed a $60 million fine and other penalties against Penn State in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal was invalid and that the money should stay in Pennsylvania.

He filed his suit in January 2013, and the NCAA countered with its own “new matter” in September 2013.

Friday’s motion withdraws the NCAA’s claims, saying that “payments by Penn State to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under the terms of the Endowment Act will satisfy Penn State’s obligations,” according to court documents on social media.

The Endowment Act was a state law Corman sponsored to keep the sanction money in the state. In April, the Commonwealth Court declared that law, challenged by the NCAA, to be constitutional.

In a statement, the NCAA said the motion was made “to provide millions of dollars in aid to survivors of child sexual abuse.”

Corman and McCord countered Friday’s move with their own motion, saying that, although they hold to their beliefs that the consent decree should be struck down, they would defer to the court’s decision. That decision could come at any time.

On Monday morning, a representative from Corman’s office said the senator was awaiting a ruling on the matter. The judge, he said, came in to review this case in the morning and a decision could come shortly.

“We said in our filing we would like to see the consent decree go through the public process,” Corman told the Centre Daily Times. “They didn’t want to have the consent decree put on trial.”

Corman said he also sees the NCAA’s motion as a victory for his legislation.

“They fought (the Endowment Act) for over a year. ... The Endowment Act is constitutional. The money goes there,” he said.

Acceptance of the NCAA’s motion would mean Corman’s part in the fight comes to a close.

“At this point, this ends it for us,” he said, adding that the issue of the legitimacy of the consent decree could come up in other pending legislation. The NCAA has a pending case in federal court, which they claim in their filing would be dismissed if the Commonwealth Court dismisses the Corman case.

The NCAA is also a named defendant in a suit from the Paterno family and others filed in Centre County Court. The organization, however, does not agree that the end of the suit is a concession on the issue of the consent decree.

“Continuing this litigation would have further delayed the distribution of the funds to sexual abuse survivors for years, undermining the very intent of the fine. Our legal case is strong, but we believe even more strongly in preventing child sexual abuse and aiding survivors. This is also an important step toward Penn State’s fulfillment of its obligations under the contractual consent decree it entered into with the NCAA,” the organization said in its statement.

Penn State had no comment.