Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Lubrano, alumni-elected trustees to push Penn State to switch sides in Endowment Act lawsuit

Penn State board of trustees member Anthony Lubrano testifies at a Senate hearing on Penn State governance reforms at the State Capital Building on Monday, March 18, 2013.
Penn State board of trustees member Anthony Lubrano testifies at a Senate hearing on Penn State governance reforms at the State Capital Building on Monday, March 18, 2013. CDT photo

Some Penn State board of trustees members are looking to flip the script on the post-Sandusky lawsuits involving Penn State and the NCAA after recent revelations.

According to Anthony Lubrano, he and the other alumni-elected trustees are planning to present the full board of trustees with a new resolution for this week’s meetings.

The goal is to have Penn State step away from the table on the Commonwealth Court lawsuit brought by state Sen. Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord over enforcement of the Endowment Act, which would place the $60 million fine levied against the university by the NCAA after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania.

Instead, Lubrano wants to see Penn State switch sides, becoming a plaintiff in a case that has increasingly come down to a central issue — the validity of the consent decree, the legal agreement between the university and the sports oversight agency by which Penn State accepted the fine, a five-year suspension, a four-year bowl ban, limits on scholarships and the stripping of 112 Nittany Lion football victories.

Exhibits included in filings from Corman’s camp over the past week have included emails between two NCAA officials discussing a bluff to get the university to accept the agreement. Others showed questions about the process from the highest levels.

In an email from then-NCAA chairman Ed Ray to enforcement Vice President Julie Roe on July 12, 2012, Ray questioned how the situation would look for them as the NCAA moved toward other changes in the near future.

“Announcing in three weeks the sweeping changes in enforcement, culture and penalties we intend to implement over the next two years, while remaining silent on the Penn State matter could easily invite cynicism even from those who are rooting for us to get this right,” he wrote.

That was the same day the university announced the results of Louis Freeh’s investigation.

Lubrano said he has received support from the alumni community for the resolution.

Former trustee Joel Myers also has come forward about the situation.

“(Former Penn State president) Rod Erickson had previously asserted that the NCAA threatened the student football program with the ‘death penalty’ and he had to take the best of the bad choices. The Penn State lawyer said ‘it was crammed down,’ ” he said in an email Tuesday. “Now it has come out that NCAA officials may have acted in deceptive ways, using not only extortionate-like threats, but what seems to be bullying, bluster, and bluffing and outright lies to exact an agreement from a new Penn State president reeling from being thrust into the middle of the Sandusky crisis.”

He called the NCAA actions unprofessional and “perhaps illegal,” characterizing it as a protection racket that cheated student athletes.

“I urge the board to ask both the state attorney general of Pennsylvania and the appropriate federal authorities to look into their actions to assess whether any criminal laws were broken,” Myers said. “Whether the board chooses to reject the consent decree or not, it certainly has a fiduciary duty to consider damages against the NCAA, even if no new revelations come out.”

He also called for funds withheld from Penn State by the Big Ten since imposition of the sanctions to be restored.

The Big Ten, contacted after the first round of emails were released for comment on whether they undermined confidence, declined to comment.

Penn State declined comment on the possibility of new proposals for the committee meetings planned for Thursday and the Friday board meeting. Spokesman David La Torre said they would not speculate on anything not on the agenda.