HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A Commonwealth Court panel will soon decide if a lawsuit against the NCAA that seeks to keep Penn State University's $60 million post-Sandusky fine within Pennsylvania should go forward.
Attorneys for the NCAA as well as for the plaintiffs in the case — Sen. Jake Corman, who represents the State College area, and Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord — made arguments in a preliminary hearing today in front of the seven-judge panel.
Mr. Corman and Mr. McCord want to see the $60 million fine paid into the state treasury to be spent within Pennsylvania per a state law passed earlier this year.
But NCAA officials argue the case should be thrown out, as neither Mr. Corman nor Mr. McCord have standing to intervene in the agreement between the NCAA and Penn State.
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, Penn State agreed to pay $60 million — about one year's gross football revenue — into a fund that would aid programs for child sexual abuse victims nationwide.
An NCAA-created task force, with members from universities, national non profits and the federal government, was put in place to oversee the money, according to statements on the NCAA's web site.
Penn State is not a party to the suit, a point several judges inquired about Wednesday.
"Isn't your complaint really with Penn State?" asked President Judge Dan Pellegrini, addressing Matt Haverstick, an attorney for Mr. Corman and Mr. McCord.
Mr. Haverstick said Penn State will not ultimately control how the $60 million is spent, but the NCAA will.
The litigation over the $60 million "puts the University between the proverbial rock and a hard place," an attorney for Penn State wrote in a letter to the court earlier this month, saying the school did not want to violate either the consent decree or the state law and asking the parties to settle their dispute.
The university has "set aside the first $12 million to be paid in a low risk interest bearing account pending further direction from the NCAA," according to the June 11 letter.