Gov. Tom Corbett attempted a daring pivot Wednesday — from disapproving examiner of Penn State’s handling of child sex allegations to crusader for the notion that the university has been punished enough.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announces he is filing a law suit against the NCAA accusing the organization of illegal sanctions against Penn State University. The lawsuit asks the court to throw out all of the NCAA’s sanctions, including the $60 million fine, and asks the court declare the consent agreement illegal.
Corbett made his move through the filing of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, in which he seeks to have all further enforcement of NCAA sanctions against the university blocked.
It is believed to be the first lawsuit over the controversial sanctions, including bans on postseason play and a reduction in football scholarships, which NCAA President Mark Emmert announced this summer.
Emmert said then he was acting outside the NCAA’s ordinary enforcement procedures to handle a case where “perverse and unconscionable” decisions were made to save the football program’s reputation.
But Corbett, who at the time argued Penn State must accept its lumps, today contended that upon further review, the penalties amount to “piling on,” making too many students, business owners and fans pay too heavily for sins they did not commit.
Striking a distinctly stronger, pro-Penn State tone than he has in most of his public statements on the issue, Corbett said it is just as important to fight for their interests, as it is to fight for justice for Jerry Sandusky’s victims.
“These sanctions are an attack on past, present and future students of Penn State, the citizens of our Commonwealth and our economy,” Corbett said. “As governor … I cannot and will not stand by and let it happen without a fight.”
Sandusky, the longtime defensive coordinator to legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, was convicted in June of molesting 10 boys between 1994 and 2008.
He has been sentenced to a minimum 30-year prison term.