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Corman Releases All NCAA Lawsuit Documents, Demands NCAA Conduct Internal Review

by on February 11, 2015 12:04 PM

Pennsylvania State Sen. Jake Corman may no longer be suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association, but his fight is not over.

At a Wednesday morning news conference, Corman announced that all deposition testimonies and documents gathered over the course of his multi-year lawsuit against the NCAA have been released through his website, totaling nearly 5,000 pages of information.

This includes lengthy deposition testimonies from such key figures as NCAA President Mark Emmert, former NCAA Executive Committee Chairman Ed Ray, former Penn State President Rodney Erickson, current Penn State Board of Trustees Chairman Keith Masser, and many others.

Additionally, Corman is now calling for the NCAA executive committee to undertake a full internal review of the how the athletic organization acted in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal in the hopes of seeing “some basic reform of the NCAA’s bylaws.”

“If the executive committee reviews all this information carefully, they’ll come to the conclusion that there’s a culture problem at the NCAA,” Corman said. “… and if they truly believe in their organization’s core values, when they review all this information they will determine that Mark Emmert is no longer a credible person to lead this organization.”

Corman will also send copies of all of the newly-released information to the Pennsylvania members of the United States Congress, which “has the ability to investigate even further and has more governing power over a national organization than we do at a state level.”

Corman said that several members of Congress have expressed interest in the information, but he cannot predict how they may chose to respond.

Congressman Glenn Thompson, who has previously called for transparency from the NCAA, says in a statement the NCAA has "acted unjustly against the university and the scholarships of innocent students."

"Full exposure will serve to bring clarity to the situation and will promote greater accountability, transparency, and fairness from the NCAA,” Thompson says.

Corman criticized the actions of the NCAA – and Emmert in particular – in the wake of the Sandusky scandal as rushed, unfair and manipulative to not only Penn State, but to members of the NCAA’s own executive committee. He characterized the NCAA’s punitive sanctions against Penn State as an attempt to shape public perception of the NCAA as a powerful and decisive organization.

But one of Corman’s key issues is his claim that the NCAA lacked any legal or procedural basis to impose a consent decree on Penn State. The consent decree, which was signed by Penn State and the NCAA in 2012, allowed the NCAA to impose sweeping sanctions against the university – despite lacking any provision in the organization's bylaws to authorize such an action, Corman said.

The consent decreed was lifted when the Corman-NCAA lawsuit was settled last month. Corman and former Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord first sued the NCAA in Commonwealth Court in 2013, which ultimately led to the repeal of the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State.

But despite this success, Corman says there’s still much to be done. He and other members of the legislature are working on laws to strengthen background checks for people who work with children, and he wants to help create a culture that “errs on the side of over-reporting instead of under-reporting.”

Corman acknowledged that Penn State has also seen it’s share of criticism, but says the university’s leaders were put in “an impossible situation” that’s easier to criticize in hindsight than it was to deal with in the moment. While he feels former head football coach Joe Paterno – who was ousted as the scandal unfolded – was unfairly treated as “a scapegoat,” he also said that it’s time to look to the future instead of continuing to dwell on the past. 

“We need to educate ourselves about everything that happened, so we can try to put provisions in place so it never happens again,” Corman said.

The complete list of documents from the Corman-NCAA lawsuit can be found here. Representatives for the NCAA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to include comment from Congressman Glenn Thompson.

 

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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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