Judge denies motion to dismiss Penn State, NCAA suit

By Jim Boyle | Oct 6, 2014

The legal dispute between Penn State, the NCAA and two state officials seemed to have

been settled a month ago, but Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey is not quite ready to put the matter to rest.

Covey ruled Friday to not dismiss the suit filed by State Sen. Jake Corman and State Treasurer Rob McCord against the NCAA to enforce the Endowment Act, a law passed in 2013 that would force the funds from the $60 million fine issued by the NCAA to remain in-state. The collegiate sports governing body intended to use the money nationwide.

In April 2013, Covey upheld the Endowment Act in a separate ruling, but questioned the validity of the entire consent decree completed by the NCAA as a punishment lodged at Penn State for its alleged failure to fully investigate sexual abuse allegations against former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Those questions still remain unanswered, Covey said Friday, regardless of the agreement between the parties.

Along with the $60 million fine, the school also had a four-year ban on post-season play, a four-year reduction of grants-in-aid, four years of probation, and the vacation of sports wins dating back to 1998. In September, the NCAA agreed to relax most of the sanctions, allowing Penn State to participate in postseason bowl games this year and begin awarding scholarships for the 2015-2016 season.

In her 2013 ruling in favor of the Endowment Act, Covey said that many innocent parties who had nothing to do with the molestation scandal would be affected by the punishments. Her desire to get the full factual background of the consent decree did not disappear once the parties' came to an agreement.

''The NCAA and PSU cannot dismiss themselves from litigation by declaring the consent decree valid and simply agreeing to do that which the (state) law already requires,'' Covey wrote in Friday's ruling.

Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, was convicted on 45 counts of child sex-abuse in the summer of 2012.

He was subsequently sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in state prison.

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