Lost amid the jubilation over the repeal of the so-called "Consent Decree" is the effect that last week's settlement of the Corman-McCord lawsuit against the NCAA will have upon possible criminal charges against certain NCAA officials. As I previously noted in a blog post last November, members of the Mark Emmert Gang look pretty damn guilty of the crimes of theft by extortion and criminal conspiracy to commit theft by extortion as defined by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. Pursuant to its own by-laws, the NCAA did not have the legal authority to impose sanctions, yet threatened to impose the death penalty or other sanctions against Penn State anyway unless Penn State forked over a significant sum of money and forfeited property rights. This looks like a pretty cut and dried case of theft by extortion to me and most other lawyers I have talked to, including some prosecutors. By contrast, if Penn State had actually broken NCAA rules, giving the NCAA the right to impose appropriate sanctions, then the NCAA's actions would be part and parcel of good faith negotiations with Penn State. Thus, there would be no crime.
With Senator Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord's lawsuit against the NCAA now in the discovery phase, emails have been uncovered, which are very embarrassing to the NCAA. It now appears that NCAA officials privately acknowledged in internal emails that the NCAA did not have the authority to sanction Penn State. This conclusion is not at all surprising, given the fact that the university had not broken any NCAA rules, and in the past, criminal matters had always been handled exclusively by the criminal justice system.