Court to examine PSU-NCAA deal

HARRISBURG – A state court on Wednesday said it needed more information to examine whether Penn State and the NCAA acted legally when they entered into an agreement that imposed a $60 million fine and other penalties over the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal.

Commonwealth Court ordered that Penn State be made a party to a lawsuit filed by a state senator and the state treasurer against the NCAA. The suit seeks to enforce a 2013 state law requiring the NCAA fine to be spent on fighting child abuse in Pennsylvania.

The punishment affected athletes and others involved in the football program, people “who had excelled in their jobs through hard work, practice, commitment, teamwork, sportsmanship, excellence and perseverance,” wrote Judge Anne E. Covey for the majority.

“This court will not make a legal determination which has such far reaching implications without conducting a hearing on the disputed factual issues,” Covey wrote.

State Sen. Jake Corman, a Republican who represents the State College area and the prime sponsor of the law aimed at restricting where the fine money goes, said Wednesday he planned to meet with lawyers to discuss amending his lawsuit to make a wider challenge to the legality of the consent decree.

“We’ve always had concerns about it, the way the NCAA acted, and so now the court is seeing this as well,” Corman said.

State Treasurer Rob McCord, a Democrat running for governor and the other plaintiff in the case, released a statement saying he was pleased with the decision.

“It vindicates our view that the treasurer has an important custodial role in receiving the NCAA’s penalty money,” McCord said.