HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) College sports’ governing body said in a new court filing that it is willing to let Pennsylvania control the $60 million fine Penn State is paying over its handling of the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal.
The NCAA on Friday asked Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Sen. Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord. If Covey agrees, the NCAA said it also will move to end a federal lawsuit against McCord, Gov. Tom Corbett and others that challenges a 2013 state law requiring the money remain within Pennsylvania.
Penn State accepted the fine as part of a 2012 consent decree with the NCAA that also imposed a four-year ban on post-season play, a temporary loss of some football scholarships and the elimination of 112 wins from the later years of former head coach Joe Paterno.
Corman and McCord told Covey they still want to litigate the overall consent decree but acknowledged in court papers that it may not be feasible under state law.
”I would like to have aired out the consent decree,” Corman said. ”Unfortunately it was clear the NCAA did not – that’s why they gave up on this case.”
Continuing the litigation would hold up the money even longer, ”undermining the very intent of the fine,” the NCAA said in a statement Monday.
”Our legal case is strong, but we believe even more strongly in preventing child sexual abuse and aiding survivors,” the organization said.
Corman said his lawsuit was aimed to show the NCAA, despite being a member organization, may not simply do what it wants.
”We proved that that’s not the case,” Corman said. ”They overstepped their bounds, coming in and taking money from a public university to use as they see fit.”
In the federal case, the judge had set Monday as the deadline for parties to provide her with an update after putting the matter on hold for a month so the parties could work on a possible settlement. The NCAA sued to challenge the 2013 state law about a month after Corbett signed it.
Also Monday, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, was expected to issue his second annual report as Penn State’s athletics integrity monitor.
A year ago Mitchell said the school had made notable progress, and about two weeks later the NCAA announced it would more quickly return some of the football team’s scholarships. Under that schedule, it would be back up to 85 scholarships in 2016-17.
The Nittany Lions, under new coach James Franklin, are 2-0 after beating Central Florida and Akron.
Sandusky, a former longtime assistant under Paterno, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012 and is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence.