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Corman Asks Court to Force NCAA to Produce Emails with Big Ten

by on November 25, 2014 6:30 AM

Attorneys for Pennsylvania State Senator Jake Corman want to question National Collegiate Athletic Assocation Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy a second time - and this time, they want answers.

In a motion filed in Commonwealth Court on Monday, Corman asks the court to force the NCAA to produce emails with Big Ten representatives and to allow Corman's attorneys to question Remy again. At the very least, Corman wants a judge to review the emails to determine if they should be released.

Matthew Haverstick, an attorney for Corman, questioned Remy in an out-of-court hearing known as a deposition on Thursday, November 20. Part of the hearing revolved around the contact the NCAA had with the Big Ten during the time of Louis Freeh's investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal at Penn State.

That investigation ultimately produced the Freeh report, which formed the basis for the NCAA's sanctions against Penn State by concluding that Penn State administrators repeatedly hid knowledge of the scandal from the public. Internal NCAA emails released earlier this month suggest that both the NCAA and the Big Ten may have influenced the investigation, but the NCAA is avoiding releasing additional emails between the two organizations.

At Remy's deposition on Thursday, he made the argument that these communications are protected under "community of interest joint defense privilege." This means that because both organizations had a vested interest in potential litigation, their communications about that subject are confidential - similar to attorney-client privilege.

Corman and his attorneys disagree.

Citing various court rulings, Corman's attorneys argue that the NCAA has not met any of the qualifications to invoke joint defense privilege. The filing states the NCAA and Big Ten's interest in the Freeh investigation was a purely commercial interest, which is not a basis for joint defense privilege. The filing also notes that the Big Ten has not invoked the same privilege, even when asked for the same documents.

"The NCAA once again attempts to hide behind an unsubstantiated and highly dubious invocation of privilege," Monday's filing reads.

At depositions earlier in November, two other top NCAA officials avoided answering questions that would have revealed details of conversations involving Remy - citing attorney-client privilege. Corman asked the court to make it more difficult for the NCAA to assert attorney-client privilege, which the court granted last week. 

Corman sued the NCAA in Commonwealth Court last year to force the organization to spend its $60 million fine against Penn State in Pennsylvania. The NCAA wants to distribute that money nationally, and has filed a separate lawsuit against Corman in federal court.

Monday's filing can be read below. It includes several emails between the NCAA and the Big Ten, as well as a complete transcript of Remy's lengthy deposition hearing.

Plaintiff's Motion to Determine the Propriety of NCAAs in...

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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