State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, released a statement Thursday saying the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s lawsuit filed Wednesday against Gov. Tom Corbett will delay the positive impact of programs assisting children who have been sexually abused in Pennsylvania.
Corbett signed an act into law Wednesday dictating that the fine money Penn State is paying as a part of the NCAA sanctions should stay within Pennsylvania. The NCAA challenged the law immediately following its signing, claiming that it was an attempt by Penn State to benefit the “home team.”
“[The NCAA statement] is not only inaccurate but also exemplifies the organization's delusional understanding of the law,” Corman said, according to the release. “Penn State University receives no gain from Act 1 — the only people who will benefit are Pennsylvania's sexual abuse victims.”
Other state representatives and legislators responded that they did not favor the NCAA’s actions, though many were not particularly surprised at its behavior.
“We’re not surprised,” Drew Crompton, a representative for State Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, said. “The NCAA has a history of litigation, but we’re not sure why they’re afraid of spending the money in Pennsylvania.”
Representatives from around the state reflected on the motivations behind the NCAA’s actions.
“The NCAA is arguing that this breaks the contract between themselves and Penn State,” State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, said. “And they have a right to appeal.”
Crompton said while he acknowledges that the NCAA has a “right to fight the law,” he does not agree with it.
“Act 1 was carefully crafted to not impair the consent decree between Penn State University and the NCAA,” Corman said according to the release, “and the law is constitutional.”
At this point, some say that the fate of the money is no longer in the hands of legislators.
“This is now a matter for the court to decide,” Tor Michaels, chief of staff for State Rep. Scott Conklin , D-Centre, said.
“We absolutely support the legislation,” Michaels said. “In that light, we are hoping to get bipartisan support of the act once again.”
Crompton said he anticipates the success of Pennsylvania over the NCAA, but believes that the money has a long way to go before it reaches its target.
“We think the NCAA is going to lose,” Crompton said. “All the while, the $12 million that Penn State has already paid is hanging in the balance. This might take a while.”