Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) announced Tuesday that he would file suit against the NCAA over the sanctions the collegiate sports organization levied against Penn State University over the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Corbett will hold a press conference Wednesday at Penn State to formally announce the antitrust filing. He did not immediately elaborate on the basis of his lawsuit beyond labeling the sanctions, “illegal.”
Saying Penn State had not done enough to stop years of abuse despite having had multiple opportunities to do so, the NCAA in July handed down one of their toughest punishments ever, slapping the college with a $60 million fine which will, in part, fund child abuse prevention grants. In addition, the school’s football program was banned from postseason play for four years, forfeited scholarships, and was stripped of all wins dating back to 1998. The forfeiture of all those wins meant Joe Paterno, the legendary head coach whose legacy crumbled amid revelations of his culpability in the scandal, was also stripped of his record for most wins by a college football coach in history.
The NCAA did not impose the so-called “death penalty,” for Penn State: a suspension of the university’s football program entirely. Penn State agreed to the sanctions when they were announced, and has already made one $12 million payment toward the fine.
It is unknown whether Corbett will work with Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane on the NCAA lawsuit, who campaigned on a promise to investigate Corbett’s involvement in the abuse case. Corbett served as Attorney General when his office took on the Sandusky case in 2009, and Kane has questioned why the state did not press charges until three years into that investigation.
Sandusky was convicted in June of serially abusing young boys while serving on the coaching staff for Penn State. He was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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