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Governor Argues he's a Wrongful Party in NCAA Lawsuit

by on June 26, 2014 5:44 PM

In a court filing this week, an attorney for Gov. Tom Corbett argues the governor should be dropped from a lawsuit filed by the NCAA.

A state law, signed by Corbett Feb. 20, 2013, requires the NCAA to spend Penn State's $60 million fine for the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal within Pennsylvania.

The NCAA argues the law is unconstitutional and filed a lawsuit against Corbett, state Treasurer Rob McCord, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and state Crime and Delinquency Commission Chairman Mark Zimmer.

General Counsel James Schultz, representing Corbett and Zimmer, filed a document with U.S. Middle District Court Judge Yvette Kane, which says Corbett should not be a party in the lawsuit.

"Governor Corbett denies that he is a proper party to this action," Schultz writes. "There is no reasonable potential under the law that the governor would enforce the Institution of Higher Education Monetary Penalty Endowment Act in any manner that would adversely affect the NCAA."

Specifically, Schultz argues the governor has no responsibilities under the act and the act is administered according to its provisions by other officers and agencies, including the Treasury Department and Crime and Delinquency Commission.

Schultz also argues the 11th Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution prevent the governor from being the party of a lawsuit.

Schultz says the lawsuit does not have legal merit and the NCAA is not entitled to relief.

Corbett, DePasuale and McCord each filed motions to have the case dismissed, which the court denied earlier this month. Kane also ordered a conference between all relevant parties Aug. 14 to discuss the future of the lawsuit.

State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre County, drafted the bill that eventually became law. Both chambers approved the bill with overwhelming support.

Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach, is now a convicted pedophile. Sandusky is serving 30-60 years in state prison after a jury convicted him on 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. Some of the abuse occurred on Penn State's campus. Three former Penn State administrators face criminal charges for allegedly covering up the abuse.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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