Corman defends NCAA lawsuit

LEWISTOWN – State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, defended his legal case against the NCAA, involving the $60 million fine placed against Penn State, while speaking to the Lewistown Rotary Club at the group’s meeting on Tuesday.

The NCAA brought the lawsuit against Corman in February after his proposed legislation, Senate Bill 187, was passed by the state House of Representatives. The legislation will keep the fine money that Penn State is responsible for paying within Pennsylvania, Corman said.

The NCAA was originally planning to use the money for an endowment fund dedicated to dealing with national issues involving child abuse.

“I certainly don’t have a problem with spending money to help a good cause, but I did find it somewhat alarming that any organization can come into a public university and try to extract that type of money out of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Corman said. “I didn’t think it was correct.”

The fine money is created by Pennsylvanians and should stay in Pennsylvania, Corman said. If the NCAA wants the money to set up a national foundation to fight this issue, they certainly have the money to do it themselves, he added.

“If they’re going to subject Penn State to that type of a fine, it should go to help the people of Pennsylvania,” Corman said. “We’re going to continue on with this because we believe it’s important.”

The lawsuit moved forward on Sept. 4, when the Commonwealth Court ruled against all of the NCAA’s preliminary objections, allowing Corman’s legislation to move forward.

“The key thing the NCAA tried to argue was that Penn State was an indispensable party to this case … that they have a contract with Penn State and they have a right to do this if they want,” Corman said. “My argument was that, if you read the consent decree, the first sentence is that the NCAA imposes these sanctions on Penn State and Penn State accepts – not exactly an agreement.”

According to a press release from Corman’s office, the next phase in proceedings is a court ordered response by the NCAA. Further steps may include a summary judgment motion, or discovery, with all relevant information and testimony, including information about the NCAA decision making process regarding the fine, to be gathered and presented.

“I am hopeful this issue can be resolved in the near future,” Corman said. “The court action moves us closer to that goal and I’m very happy with their ruling. The legislation we passed with overwhelming bipartisan support is consistent with the consent decree and is an appropriate use of funds derived from a state-supported university.”

Corman plans to use the Penn State fine money to fund state programs that prevent child sexual abuse and assist victims of child sexual abuse.