The NCAA filed a response to Pennsylvania’s lawsuit today, asking that the case be thrown out.
Governor Corbett filed the lawsuit on behalf of Pennsylvania on January 2, asking that a court to overturn the NCAA sanctions against Penn State. The lawsuit cites violation of anti-trust laws and a loss of financial benefits in the state of Pennsylvania as a reason for the court to rule.
The NCAA responded today, saying that Pennsylvania does not have grounds to sue the NCAA over an issue of discipline.
“This lawsuit is an inappropriate attempt to drag the federal courts into an intra-state political dispute,” the response states. “The remedial measures that Penn State agreed to were controversial, and have elicited strong feelings on all sides. Some think they are too harsh, and some think they are too lenient. But none of those feelings have anything to do with the antitrust laws.”
StateCollege.com identified these four reasons that the NCAA claims are reasons for dismissal:
- The Complaint fails to state a claim because the ethical standards enforced by the NCAA are part of what makes college athletics unique and distinctive.
- The NCAA’s regulation of college sports is subject to antitrust scrutiny only if it directly regulates economic activity, like television contracts or the salary of coaches.
- The Complaint fails to allege harm to economic competition in the three (insufficiently pled) markets it identifies — for higher education, athletic apparel, and football recruits. The Complaint does not allege that lessened competition from Penn State has made it possible for other universities to raise tuition or the price of athletic apparel, or to reduce the number or quality of scholarships that they offer to student-athletes. Nor would such allegations be remotely plausible, given how large and robust these alleged nationwide markets would be. Plaintiff alleges only that PSU, a single competitor, might be athletically disadvantaged by the Consent Decree, but the antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors.
- Plaintiff is not suing on behalf of anyone who has antitrust injury or standing to sue. PSU chose to compromise its differences with the NCAA by consent decree, and that choice was ratified by the appropriate decision-makers under Pennsylvania law.
You can read the 46-page response below: