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Penn State OKs to stay course on sanctions

August 13, 2014 News Extra

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HARRISBURG — A divided Penn State board voted this morning to endorse a potential legal settlement that would keep its $60 million fine over the Jerry Sandusky scandal in Pennsylvania, signaling their support for a deal to end a dispute between state officials and the NCAA over the sanctions.

The trustees voted 19-8 for the resolution over a possible deal to end a Commonwealth Court lawsuit over the use of the money. Penn State was added as a defendant in that case earlier this year.

The resolution states that keeping the money in Pennsylvania “would be a win for the commonwealth, a win for the university and a win for the children of Pennsylvania.”

Much of the debate focused on a statement that the university “remains committed to full compliance with the consent decree,” which included the fine, a multi-year ban on postseason play and a temporary loss of football scholarships. Most of the board’s nine alumni members voted to strip that from the resolution, but they were defeated and then also lost the vote on the overall resolution.

The lawsuit in question is one of three pending legal disputes concerning the consent decree reached in the wake of the child sex-abuse scandal involving the former assistant football coach.

A federal lawsuit by the NCAA against Gov. Tom Corbett and others that challenges the legality of a 2013 state law requiring the $60 million remain in Pennsylvania is on hold for a month while the parties negotiate.

The Paterno family and others have also filed a lawsuit in county court that attacks the legality of the sanctions, among other things.

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