Report: State Of Pennsylvania To Sue NCAA Over Penn State Sanctions
Sports Illustrated is reporting that the State of Pennsylvania will be filing a lawsuit against the NCAA over the sanctions issued against Penn State relating to the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal and the school’s involvement with covering them up:
The State of Pennsylvania is preparing a lawsuit against the NCAA to challenge sanctions levied against Penn State University in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. Penn State, which has been working in concert with the NCAA since the scandal, is not involved in preparing the suit. It is being handled solely by the state.
An announcement could come as early as Wednesday.
A spokesman for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett declined comment when reached on Monday night.
“We’re not prepared to say anything at this point,” said Corbett’s spokesman, Kevin Harley.
It is unclear if the suit will seek to overturn or reduce the NCAA’s historic penalties against Penn State. The NCAA and Pennsylvania politicians have been wrangling over whether the $60 million Penn State owes in fines to the NCAA, which will go to child abuse prevention, should be spent locally or nationally. Penn State has already deposited $12 million of that fine into an escrow account.
It is also not known whether the lawsuit will be all-encompassing and challenge the NCAA’s historic penalties against Penn State. In July, the NCAA announced penalties that included significant scholarship reductions, a four-year postseason ban and vacated wins under former coach Joe Paterno. Penn State officials said at the time they accepted such harsh penalties because they feared being dealt the so-called “death penalty,” which would mean the shutdown of the program for one or multiple years.
If the suit challenges the NCAA penalties, it could be significant in its scope with an entity as powerful as the state of Pennsylvania going up against the NCAA.
It will be interesting to see what this is all about. As noted, it could be that this is all about a dispute between the state and the NCAA over how the money that is supposed to go toward child abuse prevention will be allocated and that the state will ask a judge to resolve the dispute. If that’s the case, it would be a relatively minor matter in the grand scheme of things. If, however, the lawsuit seeks to overturn the sanctions themselves that is an entirely different matter. In the end, I can’t for the life of me figure out what grounds the state would have for such a case to begin with. Penn State agreed to be subject to the NCAA’s jurisdiction and, most importantly, they consented to the sanctions imposed upon them. How they’re going to get out of that I can’t say, but it would be an interesting fight.
For the record, it should be noted that this suit is coming directly from the state and is not being brought at the request of Penn State, although I doubt many people will make that distinction.