State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

With Corbett-NCAA suit dismissed, two related suits remain

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jun 6, 2013 5:51 PM
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The state's auditor general says the governor's rejected bid to overturn sanctions against Penn State has no bearing on a separate lawsuit over whether the millions in fines will stay in the commonwealth or be routed all over the country.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed by the NCAA to strike down a state law requiring the 60 million dollars in fines levied against Penn State to stay in the commonwealth and go to abuse victims' organizations.

The governor attempted to overturn the financial penalty and other sanctions against the university for its football program's role in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case.

Now, a federal judge has tossed out the lawsuit, and DePasquale said Thursday he hopes the NCAA will drop its counter-suit against the commonwealth.

He said the lawsuits are a waste of taxpayers' money.

"At the end of the day, all of that money, you know, it helps some lawyers, but it's not focused on the kids," said DePasquale. "And if both sides are going to say they care about the kids, then let's see it, and let that $60 million actually help some kids."

The governor's Office of General Counsel spent $400,000 contracting private lawyers from the Philadelphia firm Cozen O'Connor to work on the failed attempt to overturn the NCAA sanctions, which include the $60 million fine and limits on athletic scholarships.

The judge likened Corbett's lawsuit to a "Hail Mary pass."

Last year, Penn State and the NCAA agreed to sanctions against the school for its football program's role in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case. The family of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno says their own lawsuit against the NCAA is significantly different than Corbett's challenge.

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