Harrisburg, PA (Sports Network) - Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett said he is
suing the NCAA over sanctions the organization levied against Penn State last
summer in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.
A four-year football postseason ban, five years probation and a vacation of
all wins dating to 1998 were among the significant penalties revealed by NCAA
president Mark Emmert last July.
Corbett, in a news conference Wednesday, called the NCAA's actions
"overreaching and unlawful." He said the penalties would result in
"irreparable economic damage to the university, the commonwealth and its
Penn State was also slapped with a $60 million fine that the NCAA said was to
go toward an endowment for "external programs preventing child sexual abuse or
Corbett said the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the state
capital of Harrisburg, will ask for all sanctions, including the fine, to be
The university was punished for its collective failure to report Sandusky, a
former assistant football coach who was convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse
against 10 boys over a 15-year period, to the proper authorities.
"While what occurred at Penn State was both criminal and heinous," Corbett
said, "the conduct for which Penn State was sanctioned consisted of alleged
failures to report criminal activity on campus that did not impact fairness or
integrity on the playing field."
Penn State was penalized without the usual lengthy NCAA investigation.
Instead, the NCAA relied heavily on the Freeh Report, the findings of an
investigation commissioned by Penn State's board of trustees and conducted by
former FBI director Louis Freeh.
The Freeh Report accused many Penn State senior officials, including the late
Joe Paterno, school president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley,
of concealing "critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the
authorities, the board of trustees, Penn State community, and the public at
Corbett said the NCAA forced Penn State into the sanctions, threatening the
university with the "death penalty," a complete shut down of the football
program for four years, if the school fought the issue.
"These sanctions did not punish Sandusky for his despicable and criminal
action," Corbett concluded. "Nor did they punish the others who have been
charged criminally. Rather, they punished the past, present and future
students, current and former student-athletes, faculty members, local
businesses and the citizens of Pennsylvania who have come to cherish this
Paterno was fired as Penn State's head coach in November 2011, just days after
Sandusky's arrest, and died of lung cancer last January.
Penn State, under first-year coach Bill O'Brien, had a successful season with
a record of 8-4.
The Sports Network