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NCAA Fires Back at 'Misplaced' Attacks from Corman, McCord

by on January 06, 2015 10:34 AM

The NCAA is getting tired of what it calls "misplaced" attacks from Pennsylvania State Sen. Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord.

Ever since Corman and McCord filed their lawsuit in Commonwealth Court over two years ago, the parties have battled back-and-forth about what documents are relevant to the case. The latest flare up in this fight is over 13 documents the NCAA voluntarily turned over to the plaintiffs in what the NCAA describes as an "good faith effort" -- but Corman and McCord disagree.

Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey ordered the NCAA last month to turn over nearly 500 documents that the athletic organization claims are protected by the legal tools of attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine. Covey will review these documents herself to determine which, if any, are relevant to the case. When turning over these document to Judge Covey, the NCAA also withdrew its claims of privilege on 13 documents, which they handed over to Corman and McCord.

"Plaintiffs -- once again -- attempt to portray the NCAA's continued and significant good faith efforts to maximize the documents and information available to Plaintiffs as somehow improper or nefarious," attorneys for the NCAA write in a legal filing from last week. "But nothing could be further from the truth."

Attorneys for Corman and McCord wasted no time in firing back at the NCAA after the athletic organization provided the 13 documents in question, which mostly dealt with implementing public relations strategies with the Big Ten athletic confrence. In a court filing last week, attorneys for Corman and McCord called the release of the documents an "astonishing admission" of wrongdoing.

But the NCAA disagrees with this characterization.

"The fact that NCAA counsel determined that a single, effectively non-substantive communication... was not protected from disclosure suggests neither improper intent by the NCAA in its privilege assertions nor that other communications between counsel for the NCAA and Big Ten do not qualify for the common interest privilege," NCAA attorneys write.

Corman and McCord initially sued the NCAA in an attempt to keep the athletic organization's $60 million fine against Penn State within Pennsylvania. The scope of the lawsuit has since expanded, with an upcoming February trial scheduled to examine the validity of the consent decree. Penn State, which is a nominal defendant in the lawsuit, signed the consent decree with the NCAA in July 2012, allowing the NCAA to impose its fine and other sanctions.

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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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