Penn State Decision
April 23, 2013
NCAA asks court to dismiss Senator Corman’s amended complaint
Today the NCAA filed preliminary objections to the latest version of a lawsuit filed by State Senator Jake Corman in state court. This is Senator Corman’s third attempt in less than three months to bring a viable legal action. In its papers submitted today, the NCAA argues that these latest changes, including the addition of Treasurer Robert McCord as a plaintiff, do not correct the faults contained in his previous two complaints.
The lawsuit argues that a private endowment required by the agreement between Penn State and the NCAA violates Pennsylvania State law. Penn State agreed to fund that endowment, which will be established by the NCAA, to assist victims throughout the country of child sexual abuse and to prevent such abuse in the future. Penn State will contribute $12 million a year for five years towards that endowment—a total of $60 million.
Senator Corman and Treasurer McCord contend that Pennsylvania law, including the Endowment Act, requires the endowment funds to be paid exclusively to the State Treasury and used to combat child sexual abuse only within the state.
The NCAA believes the Endowment Act is unenforceable because it violates the United States Constitution, and the NCAA has presented these arguments in a separate lawsuit in federal court. But Senator Corman’s and Treasurer McCord’s claims are completely without merit on several other levels. First, Senator Corman and Treasurer McCord lack the authority and standing to bring the present action under Pennsylvania law. Second, the Plaintiffs again have failed to join a party central to their claims: Penn State. Third, the legal theories do not stand because Penn State is not limited by the Pennsylvania Constitution from spending money outside the Commonwealth, the NCAA has not received any money from Penn State and there is no indication Penn State will use state funds for the endowment.
The NCAA is asking the court to dismiss the case in the face of these significant flaws.
April 17, 2013
NCAA asks court to reject latest request in PA case
The same day and as soon as it learned that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the Institution of Higher Education Consent Decree Endowment Act (the “Endowment Act”) into law, the NCAA filed a lawsuit asserting that the Endowment Act was unconstitutional. Under the Consent Decree, Penn State agreed to pay the NCAA to fund an endowment to support programs aimed at the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse. As its membership is nationwide, it was always the NCAA’s intent that this endowment support programs across the country. The Endowment Act, however, authorizes Pennsylvania to seize that money for in-state programs only. The NCAA named the Governor, the State Treasurer, the Auditor General, and the Chair of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency as Defendants.
Rather than defend the constitutionality of the law in federal court, Defendants asked the federal court to abstain from ruling on the law’s constitutionality and to defer to a state court action initiated by State Senator Jake Corman, the author of the Endowment Act. The NCAA’s Opposition asks the court to reject this request. As explained in the NCAA’s brief, federal courts abstain in only rare and extraordinary situations. This is not such a situation.
Courts will not abstain where—as here—a law being challenged is plainly unconstitutional. The Endowment Act flagrantly violates the Takings, Contracts, and Commerce Clauses of the United States Constitution because it takes private property without compensation, directly undermines the Consent Decree, and impermissibly discriminates against interstate commerce.
In addition, Senator Corman’s state court case suffers from serious defects, which have already caused Senator Corman to twice amend his complaint in attempts to overcome them. Because that state action suffers from fatal jurisdictional and other defects that necessitate its dismissal, it will not provide an adequate forum for the NCAA to raise its constitutional arguments. In short, Defendants failed to show that any of the rare circumstances in which abstention is appropriate are present in this case.
As a backup option, Governor Corbett and the Defendants asked the Court to put the case on hold pending an outcome in Governor Corbett’s antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, which seeks to overturn the entire Consent Decree with Penn State. In its Opposition brief, the NCAA points out that there are no common issues between the cases, and Defendants have made clear that they have no intention of waiting to enforce the Endowment Act until after the antitrust case has been resolved. Thus, that case provides no basis at all for the federal court to abstain.
In the end, the NCAA has asked the federal court to reject Defendants’ extraordinary abstention request and, instead, to take up and resolve the important constitutional questions raised by the NCAA’s challenge to the Endowment Act.
April 2, 2013
NCAA Opposes Attempt by Senator Corman to Intervene in Federal Lawsuit
On February 20, 2013, Pennsylvania Governor Thomas W. Corbett, Jr. signed the Pennsylvania Institution of Higher Education Consent Decree Endowment Act, a law specifically designed to disrupt the contractual relationship between the NCAA and Penn State, to prevent the funds Penn State committed in its Consent Decree from being used to prevent child abuse nationwide, and to confiscate those funds for administration by the Pennsylvania Treasury. Within hours, the NCAA filed suit against various Pennsylvania officials, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief from that unconstitutional law.
Senator Corman, who is maintaining a separate state court action, recently attempted to intervene in the NCAA’s federal lawsuit for the sole purpose of urging the federal court not to address the federal constitutional issues presented. Federal law makes clear, however, that intervention is only appropriate when a party has a sufficient interest in the underlying litigation and that the existing parties to the action do not adequately represent the prospective intervenor’s interests.
The NCAA has opposed Senator Corman’s request to intervene [link to attached PDF] in the NCAA’s federal lawsuit, arguing that Senator Corman, as a single member of the Pennsylvania legislature with no authority or responsibility to enforce or defend the law, has no legitimate interest in the federal suit and seeks only to make arguments that are already being made by Governor Corbett and other existing Defendants. Federal law does not allow those who have no unique interest or standing to participate. Accordingly, Senator Corman does not meet the legal requirements to intervene under federal law.
March 27, 2013
NCAA Responds to Senator Corman’s Amended Complaint
"In what is now his third attempt to avoid dismissal of his lawsuit, Senator Corman has filed yet another amended complaint. After his first complaint the NCAA moved to dismiss and Senator Corman filed an amended complaint. The NCAA again moved to dismiss his amended complaint and Senator Corman, apparently seeking to cure deficiencies in his prior attempts, has now filed a third complaint again delaying victims of child sexual abuse nationwide from receiving needed financial support. This time, because the NCAA has made clear that Senator Corman has no right to sue, he joined the State Treasurer as a plaintiff. He also dismissed his claims against Tim White and the task force, in apparent recognition of the correctness of the NCAA position that the court lacks jurisdiction over them. In what appears to be a continued game of whack-a-mole, we will yet again ask the court to dismiss his third attempt to state a claim.”
March 14, 2013
NCAA asks federal court to dismiss Corman lawsuit
The NCAA today asked a court in Pennsylvania to dismiss a lawsuit brought by State Senator Jake Corman that seeks to prevent any money Penn State pays towards its obligations under the Consent Decree from going to child abuse victims outside of Pennsylvania. Senator Corman relies in part on the newly enacted Pennsylvania Institution of Higher Education Monetary Penalty Endowment Act (the “Endowment Act”) to support his lawsuit, but the NCAA has challenged this new law as unconstitutional and unenforceable in a separate federal lawsuit. Pennsylvania law cannot control how an organization like a private endowment can donate its money. Further, Senator Corman does not have the legal authority to try to enforce laws, and his lawsuit cannot go forward without the involvement of Penn State.
“We believe Senator Corman’s lawsuit has no merit, and that he is not empowered by law to even bring the case,” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “The NCAA’s pending federal court action involves the proper Pennsylvania government officials and will determine whether the Endowment Act is constitutional and imposes any obligations on the NCAA. Senator Corman sought to avoid federal court review of the Endowment Act by getting into state court the morning the Governor signed the Endowment Act, but we do not believe this gambit will be successful.”
The NCAA’s motion to dismiss can be found by clicking here.
March 14, 2013
NCAA continues to defend sanctions against Penn State
The NCAA took another step today (March 14) to defend its sanctions against The Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania Governor Corbett filed a lawsuit in January seeking to invalidate some or all of the sanctions against Penn State on the basis of the antitrust laws. As the NCAA’s initial brief made clear, the courts have already stated that antitrust laws do not apply when the NCAA is acting in a non-commercial capacity to regulate competition and enforce its own rules.
Nonetheless, Governor Corbett filed a response largely premised on the allegation that the Penn State sanctions were the product of a conspiracy intended to benefit Penn State’s competitors on the football field.
Donald Remy, NCAA Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, provided the following statement: "As today’s filing in federal court makes clear, the allegation that somehow the NCAA Executive Committee conspired against Penn State is baseless and absurd, and Governor Corbett’s lawsuit should be dismissed."
March 11, 2013
Updates on Corman lawsuit
As has been widely reported, Penn State entered into a Consent Decree and agreed to pay a $60 million fine to the NCAA, which would be used to set up an endowment to prevent child sexual abuse. After a series of legal pleadings and enactment of a new state law, on February 26, Senator Corman renewed his request for a preliminary injunction, seeking an emergency order compelling the NCAA to redirect the fine to the State of Pennsylvania. Senator Corman’s new motion seeks to enforce the law Pennsylvania passed designed to change the terms of the Consent Decree. The NCAA, in a separate federal lawsuit, has challenged the law, arguing that it plainly violates the U.S. Constitution.
In its filing on March 8, the NCAA asked the state court to delay ruling on Senator Corman’s motion because: 1) the money has not yet been paid to the NCAA and will not be paid in the near future; 2) serious questions exist concerning whether Senator Corman even has a right to sue; and 3) the validity of the statue Senator Corman seeks to enforce is already being considered by a different court, where the proper representatives of the State are involved. On March 11, the Court directed Senator Corman to respond to the NCAA by Monday, March 18, 2013, signaling that there is no rush to evaluate the request for a preliminary injunction.
Feb. 20, 2013
NCAA asks federal court to strike Pennsylvania law
The NCAA today filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to halt an attempt by state politicians to invalidate portions of the Consent Decree between Penn State and the NCAA. Specifically, the state lawmakers approved legislation that restricts funds intended to benefit victims of child sexual abuse nationwide. Our lawsuit asks the federal court to strike down the newly enacted Pennsylvania law that would require the $60 million fine, agreed to by Penn State, to be paid to the state instead. Read more.
Feb. 7, 2013
NCAA moves to dismiss Pennsylvania lawsuits
The NCAA today asked courts in Pennsylvania to dismiss two lawsuits that are seeking to invalidate some or all of the sanctions against Penn State University. Pennsylvania politicians filed both suits, and our filings today demonstrate that neither Governor Corbett nor State Senator Corman have authority to interfere with the agreement between Penn State and the NCAA. Read more.
Jan. 2, 2013
NCAA responds to Corbett announcement
The NCAA today responded to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s announcement that he is planning to sue the Association for its handling of the Penn State sanctions. The following is a statement from Donald M. Remy, NCAA Executive Vice President and General Counsel:
“We are disappointed by the Governor's action today. Not only does this forthcoming lawsuit appear to be without merit, it is an affront to all of the victims in this tragedy - lives that were destroyed by the criminal actions of Jerry Sandusky. While the innocence that was stolen can never be restored, Penn State has accepted the consequences for its role and the role of its employees and is moving forward. Today's announcement by the Governor is a setback to the University's efforts.”
Dec. 7, 2012
A task force created to set up the structure and policies for the endowment formed out of the $60-million NCAA-imposed fine against Penn State has begun formulating how funds will be used. Read more.
Nov. 30, 2012
NCAA statement on first quarterly Mitchell report
In response to the first quarterly report from former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who is the independent athletics integrity monitor for Penn State, the NCAA has released the following statement from President Mark Emmert: “I’m pleased to see the progress Penn State has made to date with respect to the Athletics Integrity Agreement as reported by Senator George Mitchell. Penn State has taken the first important steps necessary to ensure a culture of athletics integrity and we look forward to seeing continued progress as the AIA is fully implemented.” Click here to read Mitchell’s report.
Sept. 18, 2012
An NCAA-created national task force will oversee an endowment funded by the $60 million fine imposed on Penn State. The task force members were drawn from national nonprofit organizations (some specializing in child advocacy), the federal government and the NCAA membership. Read more.
Aug. 9, 2012
NCAA statement on Penn State’s fine and the endowment that will be established
“The endowment will benefit external programs across the country that help prevent child sexual abuse or assist victims of abuse. We are currently finalizing the details on how the endowment will be administered. We will post details to ncaa.org once they are available.”
Aug. 1, 2012
The NCAA today selected former U.S. Senator George Mitchell as the independent Athletics Integrity Monitor at Penn State. Mitchell’s five-year appointment begins immediately. As Athletics Integrity Monitor, Mitchell will evaluate Penn State’s compliance with NCAA sanctions and the Athletics Integrity Agreement it will execute with the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference. Read more.
July 23, 2012
Due to the unprecedented nature of the Penn State sanctions, the NCAA will provide appropriate and immediate relief of some NCAA rules for all eligible football student-athletes who wish to transfer to another school. Read more.
July 23, 2012
The NCAA Executive Committee and the Division I Board directed President Emmert to examine the circumstances surrounding the Penn State tragedy and, if appropriate, make recommendations regarding punitive and corrective measures. The Executive Committee acts on behalf of the entire Association and implements policies to resolve core issues, pursuant to its authority under the NCAA Constitution and Bylaw 4.1.2(e). Read more.
July 23, 2012
Penn State's sanctions are both punitive – intended to punish – and corrective, intended to remediate the 'sports is king' culture that led to failures in leadership. Read more.
July 23, 2012
Penn State's leadership failed to value and uphold institutional integrity, breaching both the NCAA Constitution and Division I rules. Read more.