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Pa. governor sues NCAA over Penn State scandal

Tom Corbett wants sanctions against university thrown out

The governor of Pennsylvania has filed suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), claiming the sanctions against the Pennsylvania State University over the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal will devastate the state’s economy.

Yesterday, Governor Tom Corbett filed the suit asking the court to throw out the sanctions, which include a $60 million fine against Penn State. He says in his filing that the sanctions are “overreaching and unlawful.”

In a news conference yesterday, Corbett said, "I cannot and will not stand by and let it happen without a fight."

In late 2011, news broke that some Penn State officials had ignored and covered up an ongoing sex abuse scandal within its football program involving its assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The fallout was epic: The school officials involved in the cover-up, including famed head coach Joe Paterno, were fired from their posts; serial child molester Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison—likely the rest of his life—for his actions; and the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million for failing to stop the abuse.

Corbett says in his suit that the NCAA and "competing colleges and universities represented on its governing boards" had "cynically and hypocritically exploited" the case "to impose crippling and unprecedented sanctions on an already weakened competitor."

Some experts, however, believe Corbett’s chances of winning the suit are slim to nil. "It's not a frivolous lawsuit—there are real arguments to make—but, boy, is it weak," Max Kennerly, a lawyer at the Beasley Firm, told Thomson Reuters.

The republican governor had previously been criticized for not acting sooner when the sex abuse scandal broke. 

Check out InsideCounsel’s ongoing coverage of the Penn State scandal:

Penn State’s GC was criticized too harshly for her role in the Sandusky scandal

Former Penn State president says there was no cover-up

Whistleblower in Penn State sexual abuse scandal sues school

NCAA fines Penn State $60 million

Penn State GC criticized in report

Former Penn State assistant coach to sue university

Lessons from the Penn State scandal

Contributing Author

Cathleen Flahardy

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