Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced a wide sweeping anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA Wednesday morning at the Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State’s campus aimed at eliminating all of the NCAA sanctions against Penn State.
Flanked by several dozen local business leaders, former athletes, and students, Governor Corbett introduced the lawsuit that he says will “ask for the courts to throw out all of the sanctions against Penn State.”
“We stand here in the State College, Pennsylvania…home to one of the greatest learning institutions in the world,” Governor Corbett began. “In the wake of this terrible scandal, Penn State was left to heal and clean up from this terrible tragedy created by a few.”
Corbett continued, “These sanctions did not punish Sandusky — rather they punished the past, present, and future students. I find myself asking the question: Why would the NCAA involve themselves in something being dealt with by the courts?”
The lawsuit, which will be introduced in federal court later today, asks for all sanctions to be thrown out. The sanctions include a $60 million fine, a four year bowl ban, 112 vacated wins, and devastating scholarship reductions — all of which Corbett says were unfairly rendered against Penn State by the NCAA last July.
“Just as we stand up every day and fight for the victims, we should stand up and fight for this who have been punished unfairly,” Corbett said. “As Governor of this Commonwealth, I cannot, and will not stand by without a fight.”
Corbett claims that Penn State was forced to accept the sanctions or face a worse penalty, which has been the company line given by President Erickson and the Board of Trustees since the consent decree was signed.
The media grilled Corbett on the timing and motives behind this lawsuit. “Part of [the]corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed today by the NCAA on Penn State University and its football program,” the governor said after the sanctions were imposed back in July. What epiphany he’s had in the last five months isn’t clear, but Corbett said the delay in filing a lawsuit is because he didn’t want to cause a distraction during the football season. “I wanted to thoroughly research the issue and make sure we’re on solid legal footing,” Corbett added.
“The NCAA shouldn’t have sanctioned Penn State…they have no authority and operated outside of their own bylaws,” Governor Corbett said. “I am here for one reason…Because I think this is the right thing to do.”
“The citizens and the businesses of Pennsylvania – here in State College and elsewhere – have been harmed,” Governor Corbett concluded.
Pennsylvania general counsel Jim Schultz then took questions from the media regarding the legality of the lawsuit. “The NCAA went outside of the rules and attacked Penn State to the detriment of competition in the entire market,” Schultz said, describing the basis of an anti-trust complaint. “They have no role in this…we believe we have a strong case.”
What will happen over the coming weeks and months will be interesting to monitor, but political motivations aside, most Penn Staters should be firmly in Corbett’s corner.
As a wise man once said, Buckle Up.