Gov. Corbett Sues NCAA

The state of Pennsylvania is suing after the NCAA sanctioned Penn State.


Gov. Tom Corbett announced Wednesday that he is suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association for its sanctions against Penn State University.

Corbett called the sanctions arbitrary and illegal, saying they would hurt the university, the state and Pennsylvanians.

What do you think of this lawsuit? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. (Scroll to below the complete text of Corbett’s statement.)

Corbett's Complete Press Release: Governor Tom Corbett today announced that he is suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), calling its sanctions against Penn State University arbitrary and illegal, saying they would result in irreparable economic damage to the university, the commonwealth and its citizens.

“Penn State football has played a major role, not only as a focus of campus life, but as a generator of revenue for a proud university, a leading tourist attraction and a creator of jobs in the state,’’ Corbett said.

“In the wake of this terrible scandal, Penn State was left to heal and clean up this tragedy that was created by the few. The students, the alumni, the board, the administration and faculty all came together at that moment and began to rebuild.

“At that same time, while the healing was taking place, the NCAA piled on, choosing to levy, in their words, ‘unprecedented sanctions’ against Penn State and its football program,’’ Corbett said.

“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.’’

“These punishments threaten to have a devastating, long-lasting and irreparable effect on the state, its citizens and its economy,’’ Corbett said.

The governor, on behalf of Pennsylvania’s citizens, asked the court to throw out all of the NCAA’s sanctions, including the $60 million fine, and asked that the court declare the consent agreement illegal.

After months of research and deliberation, as well as discussions with alumni, students, faculty, business owners and elected officials, Corbett said he has concluded that the NCAA’s sanctions were “overreaching and unlawful.’’

“The only logical conclusion is that the NCAA did it because they benefited from the penalties and because the leadership of the NCAA believed they could. And that’s wrong,’’ Corbett said.

“These sanctions are an attack on past, present and future students of Penn State, the citizens of our commonwealth and our economy. As governor of this commonwealth, I cannot and will not stand by and let it happen without a fight.’’

The lawsuit, to be filed today in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, also accuses the NCAA of forcing Penn State president Rodney Erickson into silent compliance with its sanctions by threatening to impose even more debilitating sanctions to the football program.

Corbett called NCAA's application of enforcement "arbitrary and capricious" with the intent of crippling Penn State football and harming the citizens of Pennsylvania who benefit from a successful football program at Penn State.

Such benefits, the governor added, range from a college student waitressing at a State College restaurant and local business owners, to its tremendous financial contribution to the university and the state.

The NCAA is a trade association whose major purpose is to set the rules for competition in intercollegiate athletics and exists by mutual consent of its members.

“However, the NCAA leadership can’t make up its own rules,’’ Corbett said. In this case, “a handful of top NCAA officials simply inserted themselves into an issue they had no authority to police and one that was clearly being handled by the justice system.’’

The fact that the alleged actions of those involved in the tragic events at Penn State were criminal, and that no violation of NCAA rules had been identified, would not dissuade Mark Emmert, NCAA president, from seizing upon the international publicity to make a show of unprecedented and aggressive discipline.

The NCAA simply informed Penn State what the punishments would be, threatening that if Penn State did not waive its right to due process and accept the sanctions offered, the NCAA would impose the "death penalty" for four years, which would forbid the football team from all competition.

The type of "complete cooperation" Emmert advised Penn State was clear: Accept unprecedented sanctions and ignore the NCAA's flagrant disregard of its own procedures in issuing such sanctions or Penn State would wish it had.

Penn State had no practical alternative but to accept the sanctions, including releasing players from their commitment to play in State College.

The additional four-year ban on bowl games will result in a drastic reduction in scholarships for a football team consisting of coaches and players who had nothing to do with the criminal conduct.

“They wiped out the wins for football alumni – who proudly wore the Penn State uniform and represented the university well during their time in school,’’ Corbett added.

Penn State’s football program is more than just a success on the playing field, it perennially boasts one of the highest graduation rates among Division I football programs and has been a significant economic driver of the university, playing an important role in enabling the university to offer a variety of first-rate programs through resources other than student tuition.

In addition:

  • It was the second most profitable collegiate athletic program in the nation in 2010-11, earning more than $50 million, and was the most profitable program among its immediate competitors in the Big Ten Conference.
  • It was the most valuable contributor to intercollegiate expenses for all student-athletes at the university, providing 37 percent of revenue for athletic programs in the 2011 fiscal year. At the same time, the football program amounted to only 15 percent of athletics expenses.

“The university is an economic engine, creating jobs, not only university-related jobs, but jobs in the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry and generating hundreds of millions of dollars for businesses of all sizes in the commonwealth.’’

Specifically, Penn State‘s football program:

  • Brings in an estimated 15 percent of visitors to Penn State football games from outside the state;
  • Generated $161.5 million to business volume impact in 2009, with $90 million benefitting Centre County alone;
  • Spent $16 million in Pennsylvania on goods and services with contractors and vendors in 2009 – essentially pumping money back into the state’s economy;
  • Creates about 2,200 jobs - both direct jobs, such as box office and concession staff, and indirect jobs, such as shopkeepers to restaurant and hotel staff; and
  • Generates more than $5 million in tax revenue and supports a number of community programs run through and in conjunction with football and student athletics.

“The NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, seized upon the opportunity for publicity for their own benefit to make a showing of aggressive discipline on the backs of the citizens of our commonwealth and Penn State University,’’ Corbett said, “and this is why I have chosen to fight this in the courts.’’

“These sanctions did not punish Sandusky for his despicable and criminal action. 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 great university.’’

Curmudgeon January 03, 2013 at 10:54 AM
Wow: Whether you like Corbett or not, he inherited a mess from Rendell. Smoke and mirror budgets, moving $$ around, not funding the teacher's pension plan!! We have had NO tax increases with none planned. Is this bad?? Guess it is if you are one of the takers. It was time to pay the piper and he is steadying the ship. Sorry he's not as affable as Rendell. Maybe he should go on Comcast to tell us about the Eagles. That helps balance the buget.
mr grinch January 03, 2013 at 11:59 AM
Mr Corbett, you just secured your vote for scumbag 2013. Congrats.
Nick Matregrano January 03, 2013 at 12:33 PM
"One Term Tom" never ceases to amaze me. How much is this going to cost the tax payers now??
Dynamo47 January 03, 2013 at 12:39 PM
I voted for him but this is way over the line. Not only did he turn the other cheek back when he was the Attorney General but now he wants to file a law suit? If the suit was simply to keep the $60 million in the state to help abused children I could understand it but it is more than that. Penn State Officials buried child sexual abuse for one reason and one reason only and that was to protect the cash cow football program. If it was the art professor or even a low profile sport they would have thrown them to the wolves. The ONLY reason they didn't was because they could not jeopardize the sterling image of Penn State football and the millions of dollars in revenue it brought the university. I was a lifelong Penn State fan and have not watched one game since. Personally I think the program should have been given the death penalty for 5 years minimum. If SMU received the death penalty for paying players surely allowing a member of the football staff to rape innocent children would warrant a stiffer penalty. People argue that this is not a football issue but it totally is because the powers that be (including Joe Paterno) allowed it to happen to protect the football program. Penn State is an excellent university and would continue to provide a quality education with or without a football program.
Robert Banner January 03, 2013 at 12:47 PM
How can I share my thoughts on this when you have not done a good job of reporting on this? Running a whole press release isn't a news story. What it is is lazy work. A real journalist would have also interviewed a Penn State official for their side and Corrbett or one of his people to see how they respond to what the Penn person said. And wasn't Patch supposed to be hyper local? Lucy couldn't you find a Havertown lawyer to share his or her thoughts on this? You are doing us a great disservice by being lazy and not being objective.
patrick January 03, 2013 at 01:09 PM
The mess was the 14 years of a Republican legislature. You are a curmudgeon, which is the first step toward your recovery. republican=stupid
John Q. Public January 03, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Punishing kids, some who were in H.S. when the crimes occurred, to revenge other kids is pure nonsense. Unjust actions do not satisfy justice, and these sanctions do NOTHING for the victims. Various carpetbaggers groups, who have a financial stake in the fines, would benefit, but not the kids, who are being punished.
Tim Lewis January 03, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Ummm - what state funds did Corbett cut for education? Please be specific - but I won't hold my breath waiting for an answer because they don't exist.
Leslie Greene January 03, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Tim: In his first year in office, Corbett cut educational funding buy $550 million. See the Inquirer's on line articles @ Philly.com for details. He is responsible for much of the Philadelphia School District's, the Chester School District's and other urban PA districts' financial problems.
TheNate January 03, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Corbett wanted to cut much more for education, but had to compromise because not everyone in Harrisburg is as anti-education as he is: http://articles.mcall.com/2012-07-05/news/mc-pa-corbett-education-reform-budget-20120705_1_tom-corbett-spending-plan-education-budget Breathe easy, Tim, and start checking your facts.
TheNate January 03, 2013 at 02:29 PM
I agree. A little follow-up or extra analysis, or even a local perspective, would actually make this a news story and not a repackaged press release. Patch editors should do more to earn their bylines.
Anthony Wayne January 03, 2013 at 02:36 PM
The NCAA stepped up to punish the existing culture in place which saw the reputation of the school and its employees and the revenue they created, as the primary focus of their protection efforts. The draconian measures were clearly meant to punish PSU and to discourage other institutions from following the same immoral thought process. A cloud of impropriety surrounds then attorney general corbett regarding his investigation procedure into the matter in light of the financial support given his campaign for governor by none other than the second mile, an organization designed to supply fresh victims to sandusky. $400,000 plus buys a lot of influence. This open prostitution is endemic in our political system today. The double standards exibitited by "our leaders" reach every aspect of government yet "the majority" continue to elect and re elect drug addicts to manage the pharmacy. The twisted irony of this sad situation comes as no surprise to anyone even half awake, and illustrates once again the disgrace our country has become as we abandon our rule of law for democracy.
Robert January 03, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Huh? Punish kids? If you are talking about the penn state students, they are not kids, they are legally adults and have the freedom of choice to go to any other university they choose, which many have. Penn state officials are the ones who disgraced the Penn State name, and Corbett sat on the Penn State board. He is just trying to save face. He will lose this suit and cost the tax payers more money in legal fees and court costs.
Tom Bates January 03, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Takers, check! Teachers union, check! Trash Rendell, check! Ok, I think I have all the talking points covered...
Tom Bates January 03, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Dynamo, the one challenge with your assertion is that there was no evidence that anyone associated with the football program "allowed" anything to happen. Unlike SMU where the culprits did what they did to enhance the football program. there is some disconnect here as there was a single actor, (Sandusky), and some potential cover-up by the administration, (still not yet proven in court), but none of this was done for the benefit of the football team.
Tom Bates January 03, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Then you should go ahead and do this and submit it to Patch...
Tom Bates January 03, 2013 at 03:58 PM
LSD abuse is a horrible thing.
Some One Like You January 03, 2013 at 05:26 PM
in 2010 Gov. Corbett advanced $860 million in funding cuts for education which left the states most neediest students even more worse off. For example the Chester Upland School Distinct. This is just for Mr Lewis who is unaware of what is going on in his own state. Taking on the NCAA about this situation is probably one of the dumbest things I have heard Corbett do. Everyone, except the students, dropped the ball at Penn State as it pertains to Sandusky. Every action has a consequence and Penn State has to suffer the consequences.
Tim Lewis January 03, 2013 at 05:35 PM
I will concede that a portion of the "cuts" were state dollars - but the majority, over $700 million - of that funding was federal stimulus money. Schools implemented permanent programs based on the federal funding, and cried when the state would not continue those programs.
Tim Lewis January 03, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Earnest, why does it always come back to "roads and bridges"? The things you cite are a small portion of spending at both state and federal levels. If the government stopped spending on stuff it has no business being involved with, there would be plenty of money for roads and bridges.
kevin January 03, 2013 at 05:40 PM
I agree. Well said.
Robert Banner January 03, 2013 at 06:53 PM
@I Love DelCo That's the problem with Patch. I have seen them run things written by untrained and nonprofessional "reporters". I just feel that if I'm coming to a professional news website the stories should be written by paid professionals and written objectively. 
Lucy Bennett (Editor) January 03, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Actually Robert, the reason this was posted was so we could get your input and your neighbors'. We want to know what you think about it and foster a discussion.
Robert Banner January 03, 2013 at 10:02 PM
I cannot give you my input because you didn't give me any balance information to base my decision on. You didn't speak to the NCAA or Penn State. As my friend said to me earlier today, every other newspaper and network spoke to all of those folks and they are getting people to comment. Patch used to do that. I just may join the other people who stopped coming to this Patch if the "stories" will be like this.
TheNate January 03, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Or you could have gotten some expert commentary and/or a local slant, then opened it up for comments. That would have been better for everyone.
Richard Weisgrau January 03, 2013 at 11:19 PM
To the disgruntled: Patch is not a news organization in the traditional sense of that term. It is a community bulletin board that strives to inform local residents, give them a voice, allow debate, and make us all more aware. Patch has been that since its origin. It has been nothing more or less. Condemning Patch for not doing the work of News organizations is misplaced criticism. I learned of Corbett's action via Patch, not ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, AP, UPI, Reuters, or other large scale news organization. Upon learning I did my own research as I prefer to not be spoon fed the opinions of others. I formed my opinions based upon my own research and expressed them in this forum. No other media service gave me that opportunity to speak to my neighbors.. Yes, I could have been one of thousands who posted on CNN, Huffington, or other news sites, but I wanted what I wrote to be read by someone. The nature of media is finally changing after centuries of the people being fed opinions by pundits, so-called impartial reporters, and advertising supported journalists. I love it. I do not want help to do research and formulate an opinion. I do not expect or want one source to refine the information I need or want. I want the lead, and I will take it from there. That is what education did for me. Patch has opened some of our eyes regardless of the readers point of view. That is good.
Walt January 04, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Richard- well said. Patch is neighbors talking over fences. It fills a void that the large media outlets can not handle.
Robert Banner January 04, 2013 at 03:50 AM
It is a community bulletin now, but it used to be a news Web site. The Havertown Patch was a great place to be when it first came out years ago. It had real articles and it gave a well-balanced report of all the topics with no opinion. When it first arrived Patch president said it was a news place that was filling the hole left behind the newspapers that are dying out. And many of the editors did not tell us it was a bulletin board and it certainly is not what we want. If you like it as a community bulletin board that is great. But for those of us who miss Patch as a news Web site we do not like this change at all.
edufan January 09, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Joe Smith January 11, 2013 at 05:49 PM
They should prosecute Penn State as a corrupt organzation and shut it down.


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