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Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court hopes to review the legality of the Penn State-NCAA consent decree

Sam Cooper
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STATE COLLEGE, PA - JANUARY 11: Rodney Erickson, President of The Pennsylvania State University addresses the media on January 11, 2014 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court opened up the possibility for a review of the consent decree that allowed the NCAA to impose crippling sanctions on the Penn State football program in July 2012 after the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

According to the Associated Press, the court said it needs more information to determine if Penn State and the NCAA acted legally when they ultimately agreed to the sanctions that included a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and reduced scholarships.

This happened following the court’s decision to dismiss the NCAA’s challenge to a 2013 law that required all of the proceeds from the NCAA’s $60 million fine on Penn State to be used for child sexual abuse prevention and treatment only in Pennsylvania. The NCAA believes the fine money should be spread wherever it chooses.

Because the sanctions ultimately affected student-athletes and others in the football program, the court “ordered that Penn State be made a party to the lawsuit filed by a state senator and the state treasurer against the NCAA.”

Republican senator Jake Corman was the sponsor behind the 2013 law that hoped to restrict the fine money strictly to Pennsylvania said Wednesday that “he planned to meet with lawyers to discuss amending his lawsuit to make a wider challenge to the legality of the consent decree.”

“We’ve always had concerns about it, the way the NCAA acted, and so now the court is seeing this as well,” Corman said.

The consent agreement was signed by Penn State president Rodney Erickson, who took over after Graham Spanier was removed from his position by the Board of Trustees on March 12, 2012.

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