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Thursday, August 7, 2014
Lawyers hope for Penn St. settlement

Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Lawyers for the NCAA, the governor and others asked a judge to give them a month to work on a possible settlement of a lawsuit over the penalties Penn State is paying for mishandling the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

The sides filed a joint motion Wednesday in Harrisburg federal court that said another month would give them a "meaningful opportunity" to resolve the lawsuit.

"The parties agree that this postponement may help secure the just and efficient resolution of this proceeding," they wrote.

The NCAA sued Gov. Tom Corbett, state treasurer Rob McCord and two other state officials over a 2013 law that requires a $60 million penalty being paid by Penn State to stay within Pennsylvania. Penn State said Thursday that so far it has set aside the first two payments, a total of $24 million.

McCord spokesman Gary Tuma declined to say whether there was a specific reason to think a settlement could occur. The NCAA, the auditor general's office and Corbett's general counsel's office all declined comment.

A consent decree between the NCAA and Penn State included the $60 million fine, a figure designed to match an average year's football revenue at the university. The money, paid over five years, is earmarked for programs to prevent child sexual abuse and to help its victims.

A month after Corbett signed the law requiring the money remain in Pennsylvania, the NCAA challenged it in federal court, saying it violated the U.S. Constitution.

If a judge grants the request, it would postpone pending proceedings that would outline how the lawsuit will go forward -- the filing of a case management plan and an Aug. 14 case management conference.

Sandusky, retired as Penn State's longtime defensive coordinator, was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a lengthy state prison sentence.

A separate state court lawsuit seeking to enforce the Pennsylvania law, known as the Institution of Higher Education Monetary Penalty Endowment Act, is expected to go to trial early next year.