Penn State

Judge denies NCAA, Penn State gag order, seeks deposition from Emmert

A judge has ordered that the NCAA make President Mark Emmert available to give a deposition in the ongoing suit involving Penn State and Pennsylvania’s Endowment Act.
A judge has ordered that the NCAA make President Mark Emmert available to give a deposition in the ongoing suit involving Penn State and Pennsylvania’s Endowment Act. AP photo

In two separate Commonwealth Court rulings this week, Judge Anne Covey denied an NCAA and Penn State motion for a protective order and ordered the NCAA to make President Mark Emmert available to give a deposition.

The NCAA and the university had asked for the order to protect confidentiality of “certain discovery materials” in the lawsuit brought by state Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, and state Treasurer Rob McCord that tries to ensure the $60 million in fine money levied against Penn State by the NCAA remains in Pennsylvania.

Covey declined that in an order dated Wednesday.

“Defendants have demonstrated no specific injury that would occur in the absence of a protective order and have presented no evidence that this court’s protection is necessary. They have done nothing other than make a general, sweeping, nonspecific and unsupported statement that the information ‘qualifies for protection from public disclosure’ or is ‘required to be maintained as confidential in the ordinary course of (PSU’s) business,’ ” the judge wrote.

“Their assertions fall far short of the required legal standard.”

The denial comes after Covey refused to dismiss the case as the defendants requested. Corman and McCord did not oppose that motion, saying they would leave it to the court’s judgment. Covey instead ordered a trial that would look at the validity of the consent decree, the document by which Penn State agreed to the sanctions levied against the university and the football program.

Covey also ordered the NCAA to produce 14 witnesses — including Emmert — for depositions. Three witnesses were removed from the list of requests. Ed Ray, the Oregon State University president and chairman of the NCAA’s executive committee at the time of the consent decree, was a special case.

“It is unclear whether Dr. Ray currently holds a position with the NCAA. If so, he shall be produced for deposition,” the order states. “However, if Dr. Ray no longer holds a position with the NCAA, we shall not order the NCAA to produce him.”

Ray is not listed as a member of the executive committee on the NCAA’s website.

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