Penn State

NCAA seeks expedited federal ruling on Endowment Act

State Sen. Jake Corman talks with the Centre Daily Times staff in September. The NCAA is seeking an expedited hearing on the Endowment Act, which Corman sponsored, ahead of a January trial to determine the validity of the consent decree the NCAA handed down to Penn State in response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
State Sen. Jake Corman talks with the Centre Daily Times staff in September. The NCAA is seeking an expedited hearing on the Endowment Act, which Corman sponsored, ahead of a January trial to determine the validity of the consent decree the NCAA handed down to Penn State in response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal. CDT photo

The NCAA is asking a federal court judge to step in with a ruling that would stop a Commonwealth Court battle.

Last week, Judge Anne Covey issued a ruling on the suit brought by state Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, and Treasurer Rob McCord against the NCAA and Penn State regarding the $60 million in fines levied after the Sandusky scandal. The suit is an attempt to keep the funds in Pennsylvania via Corman’s Endowment Act.

Covey denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, saying it usurped her court’s authority. A Jan. 6 trial has been scheduled that will decide the validity of the consent decree, the document that Penn State accepted, along with unprecedented sanctions from the college sports organization, in 2012.

According to documents filed Monday, the NCAA doesn’t want that to happen.

“The trial the Commonwealth Court has scheduled ... will be burdensome and expensive for all parties — none of which have requested an adjudication of these issues,” the NCAA said in a memorandum supporting its motion for an expedited hearing of its case against Gov. Tom Corbett; McCord; Mark Zimmer, chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; and state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

“And since the threshold predicate for everything happening in state court is a lawsuit to enforce the Endowment Act, a determination by this court that the act is unconstitutional should moot the controversy,” the filing stated.

Corman and McCord did not oppose the NCAA’s motion to dismiss in Commonwealth Court, but they did not support it either. Instead, they said they would leave it up to the court to decide. Corman would still like to see that happen.

“They do not want the consent decree to come under public review,” Corman told the Centre Daily Times on Tuesday. “They want to have the federal court come in and circumvent the state court. I’m not surprised.”

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