Penn State's Board of Trustees, following approximately one hour of public discussion today (Aug. 13), voted 19-8 with two abstentions to adopt a resolution supporting a possible court case settlement that would keep in Pennsylvania $60 million in fine money paid by the University as part of the NCAA Consent Decree.
Both sides in the case, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Corman v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to stay proceedings for 30 days in order to negotiate a settlement. "The University is a party in one of the two cases between the NCAA and the Commonwealth parties. We have convened a special meeting because the parties have asked for the Board's position in the settlement discussions. We distributed a draft resolution late yesterday that provides further background," said board Chair Keith Masser at the start of the meeting.
The vote came in a public session conducted via conference call, following a morning executive session with the University's general counsel and outside counsel. The sole purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possible settlement.
Masser also acknowledged that there was not agreement among the trustees on the terms of a possible settlement. "I invite the trustees to provide any advice and counsel on what those terms should be," he said.
The adopted resolution states that, "Pursuant to the terms of the Act and any such settlement, a central term is that the monies would be spent in Pennsylvania to assist victims of child sexual abuse and prevent future child sexual abuse. The University believes such a settlement would advance and support the University’s mission and be in the best interest of the University." It also states that, "No amendment to the Consent Decree is necessary to achieve such a settlement. … Such a settlement would be a win for the Commonwealth, a win for the University and a win for the children of Pennsylvania. The University urges the NCAA and the Commonwealth parties to join with it to pursue a settlement on such terms."
To read the full resolution, as adopted, click here.
Trustee Robert Jubelirer proposed striking from the formal resolution language related to the University's commitment to full compliance with the consent decree. The proposed amendment failed by a vote of 19-8 with two abstentions.
During the meeting, trustee Ryan McCombie read into the record a statement endorsed by several of the alumni-elected trustees. The statement called for the University to pursue a settlement of the litigation that, among other things, "acknowledges the insufficiency of the Freeh Report for purposes of the consent decree" and "returns penalty funds paid into escrow by the University and rescinds further obligation under that penalty."