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Penn State Board of Trustees to Hold Special Meeting on NCAA Negotiations

by on August 11, 2014 3:35 PM

The Penn State Board of Trustees is planning to hold a special meeting later this week but there appeared to be some initial confusion about the meeting's agenda.

Last week, all nine board of trustees members who were elected by university alumni sent a letter to board chairman Keith Masser demanding a special meeting to discuss litigation involving the NCAA. Those alumni trustees have promised to reform the way the board of trustees does business.

The letter says in part, "It is critical to address this issue immediately because our Board is generally uninformed about these important negotiations and is certainly divided in its views about the NCAA Consent Decree and related sanctions."

Penn State spokesperson David LaTorre tells StateCollege.com "Last week, Chairman Masser decided to call a special meeting of the Board to discuss a possible settlement of the Corman litigation. That meeting has now been set for Wednesday."

State Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre) is making it clear that no settlement is on the horizon in his case against the NCAA. "At this point there's there's been some discussions with the NCAA but no formal offer or negotiations," he says. "There's no settlement on the table."

Corman and state Treasurer Robert McCord are suing the NCAA in an attempt to force the organization to spend a disputed $60 million fine in the state of Pennsylvania.

This all goes back to the consent decree the NCAA and Penn State entered into in the wake of the child sexual abuse scandal involving former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky. Under the decree, Penn State has to pay that $60 million fine, which the NCAA would spend on prevention and awareness of child sexual abuse.

The state General Assembly passed the Endowment Act in Feb. 20, 2013. The act requires that any institution of higher education that receives state appropriated funds and has been given a penalty of $10 million or more from an outside governing body must establish an endowment that will distribute the funds inside the Commonwealth.

Alumni trustee Ted Brown posted a message on his Facebook page Tuesday afternoon that says alumni board members don't know what to expect at Wednesday's special meeting. It says, in part, "Neither Chairman Masser nor the Legal Subcommittee has shared an agenda for this Wednesday's meeting with the elected trustees. As a result, we are a bit in the dark about its proceedings. ... More troubling we have observed that key players on the Legal Subcommittee and in Board leadership appear to be more sympathetic to the NCAA's dilemma and less ambitious than elected trustees about restoring Penn State to its pre-Consent Decree culture and excellence.

Brown's message goes on to say that any settlement, "must terminate the Consent Decree and all sanctions, acknowledge the NCAA's responsibility for its errors, and return all funds to the University."

The Corman lawsuit is not the only legal dispute involving the Endowment Act. In a separate lawsuit the NCAA is suing Gov. Thomas Corbett, Treasurer Rob McCord, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in the U.S. Middle District Court. In that federal suit the NCAA claims the Endowment Act is unconstitutional.

Court documents filed last week ask the judge in that case to postpone legal action for 30 days so the parties can discuss a possible settlement.

The Penn State Board of Trustees will meet in executive session at 8 a.m. Wednesday, prior to the special meeting which will be a teleconference beginning at 8:30 a.m. The alumni trustees have reserved Deans Hall I at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center and have invited supporters to attend.

 

The board's Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning will also hold discussions later in the week. The session will be held Friday, Aug. 15, in room 204 of the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel at University Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. The committee will  consider proposed changes to the board's make up.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the board will be meeting to discuss any possible settlement in the Corman lawsuit. Penn State originally announced there was a proposed settlement. Ted Brown's Facebook message has also been added.

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Steve Bauer is Managing Editor & Chief Content Officer at StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy. You can e-mail Steve at Steve.Bauer@StateCollege.com and you can follow him on Twitter @SteveBauerSCcom
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