The National Collegiate Athletic Association has filed a lawsuit accusing Pennsylvania of trying to confiscate a $60 million sanction imposed against Pennsylvania State University in the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse case.
A new law that lets the state control the use of the funds violates the U.S. Constitution and can’t be enforced, the NCAA said in a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in Harrisburg, Pa. The bill, passed this month and enacted Thursday, applies to all large fines levied against state-supported institutions.
The state is “attempting to legislate where private parties spend their money, and to confiscate funds intended for the victims of child sexual abuse nationwide,” the NCAA, the governing body for most U.S. college sports, said in the complaint.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s office is reviewing the complaint, spokeswoman Janet Kelley said Wednesday in an email.
Corbett supported and signed the law “because he believes it is important to keep this money in Pennsylvania,” Kelley said in the email. “He believes it makes sense and is the right thing to do."
Corbett sued the Indianapolis-based NCAA in January, challenging the fine levied against the school for its failure to prevent sexual abuse by Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted of molesting 10 boys. The governor accused the NCAA of using the Sandusky offenses as a “pretext” to impose unprecedented sanctions in violation of antitrust laws.
The NCAA countered in papers filed this month that Corbett has no standing to bring the case and is seeking to undo an agreement “freely entered into” by Penn State.
The Pennsylvania Institution of Higher Education Consent Decree Endowment Act attempts to “negate a valid contract” between the NCAA and Penn State, the sports association said in court papers. The act, which says that fines levied from a school become property of the state, “amounts to a taking of private property without just compensation,” the NCAA said.
The governing body is asking a judge to declare the law unconstitutional and bar its enforcement.