Penn State

NCAA case not moot, Sen. Jake Corman, state Treasurer Rob McCord argue

Rob McCord
Rob McCord

Where’s the money?

That’s a question lawyers for state Sen. Jake Corman and state Treasurer Rob McCord raised in their response to an NCAA appeal to the state Supreme Court, filed Wednesday.

On Oct. 3, Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey overruled the NCAA and Penn State’s attempts to walk away from Corman and McCord’s lawsuit attempting to enforce the Endowment Act.

That Corman-backed legislation would keep the $60 million in post-Sandusky scandal fines levied by the NCAA against the university in a trust fund in Pennsylvania. In the defendants’ motion to dismiss, the parties said it was a moot point because they would be complying with the Endowment Act, turning over the money, and the NCAA would be withdrawing its own “new matter,” filed in September 2013.

Covey instead scheduled a January trial to determine the validity of the consent decree by which the fine and other penalties were put in place, prompting the NCAA to seek a writ of prohibition and a stay from the Supreme Court.

The problem, Corman attorney Matthew Haverstick said, is that none of the things the NCAA’s filing claimed actually happened.

“To date, neither the NCAA nor Penn State has complied with the Endowment Act by depositing any funds with the Treasury, in spite of the purported agreement to comply with the Act,” the Corman-McCord filing stated. Likewise, the NCAA never withdrew its countering “new matter.”

“The petition begs this court to find the Commonwealth Court at fault for failing to find mootness when the very conditions the NCAA cites as prerequisites for its motion have not been met,” the document states.

Haverstick also argued that the writ of execution request is inappropriate because it speaks to jurisdictional issues, not points of law, and the case does not satisfy the criteria for a stay.

The NCAA’s petition makes a case for Covey’s overreach in pressing the consent decree question, which was not raised in the original complaint by Corman and McCord.

“Revealingly, the NCAA refuses to grant any respect to the Commonwealth Court’s explanation for why the consent decree is now at issue,” Haverstick’s document said.

The court claims those issues were raised by the NCAA’s own filings, with the consent decree’s validity being the glue that held the rest of the issue together.

“In other words, exactly nothing is moot and the Commonwealth Court committed no abuse of jurisdiction by ruling otherwise and no reason exists to stay or stop the proceedings ...” Haverstick wrote.

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