The NCAA filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Gov. Tom Corbett and other top Pennsylvania officials in response to legislation to alter the consent decree signed by Penn State, according to court documents.
Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, first introduced the bill to keep the $60 million fine issued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association's consent decree in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Corbett signed the bill Wednesday, prompting the lawsuit by the NCAA.
In a press release issued Wednesday by the NCAA, the lawsuit was filed for the federal court to “strike down the newly enacted Pennsylvania law.”
“It’s important that all of our members abide by the same rules to which they have voluntarily agreed,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the release. “If individual members or state lawmakers take it upon themselves to decide what sanctions are appropriate, simply to protect their home team, then collegiate sports would be dramatically altered.”
The lawsuit explains that the new Pennsylvania law was an unconstitutional attempt to “disrupt interstate commerce” by determining how private parties spend their money. The court documents also explain that the law was used to “confiscate funds intended for victims of child sexual abuse nationwide to be used solely for the benefit of Pennsylvania residents, at the direction of Pennsylvania officials.”
The lawsuit includes three counts against the Pennsylvania officials for the recent legislation to “seize and control” the fine agreed to be paid to the NCAA and references areas of the United States Constitution that defend their claim including Article I, Section 10; Article I, Section 8; and the Fifth Amendment.
Included in the lawsuit are copies of the bill signed into law on Wednesday and the consent decree signed by Penn State President Rodney Erickson on July 23, 2012. According to the documents, the consent decree “constitutes a binding contract between the NCAA and Penn State.”
The lawsuit also notes that Penn State has been part of the voluntary NCAA since 1908 and that all members of the collegiate organization “accept and observe the principles set forth in the constitution and bylaws of the Association.”
Along with Corbett, the NCAA filed the lawsuit against Rob McCord, treasurer of Pennsylvania, Mark Zimmer, chairman of the Pennsylvania commission on crime and delinquency and Eugene DePasquale, auditor general of Pennsylvania.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Robert Jubelirer said Corman’s legislation has done a good job representing Penn State.
“I think it’s now coming out what a sloppy job the NCAA does in its investigations,” he said.
Congressman Charlie Dent, R-Allentown, and Congressman Glenn Thompson, R-Centre, who recently cosigned a letter asking Emmert to reinstate the 40 repealed football scholarships, received a response from Emmert, representative from Thompson’s office Parish Braden said.
The representatives did not feel that Emmert’s response fully clarified the problem, so they wrote back to Emmert further challenging the reduction of scholarships, Braden said.
While the 40 scholarships have not been put back into the national pool of scholarships, student athletes are now missing a chance for a better education, he said.
Collegian Staff Writers Katie Busalacchi and Olga Hajishengallis contributed to this report