I'd wondered what the method was to Tom Corbett's madness when he announced yesterday that he was suing the NCAA over the sanctions it imposed last summer on Penn State for its failure to stop Jerry Sandusky's rampage of child abuse. Late last night, the (Harrisburg) Patriot-News and the AP revealed that the Pennsylvania governor is filing an antitrust suit against the NCAA.
Wednesday morning in State College, Corbett will announce the filing of a federal lawsuit against the NCAA over its sanctions against Penn State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.Apparently Corbett's main objection is to the $60 million fine the NCAA imposed on Penn State--money intended to go towards funding child abuse prevention programs. Penn State gets over $214 million in state money every year, and legally there's no way to ensure that Penn State won't be paying part of that fine with taxpayer money. While the NCAA has promised that at least 25 percent of the fine will be spent on Pennsylvania child abuse programs and victims, a lot of elected officials in Pennsylvania are steamed at the prospect that taxpayer money might be leaving the state. There's a bill pending in the state senate that would force Penn State to keep the first installment of the fine--$12 million, paid last week--within the borders of Pennsylvania. According to the Patriot-News, Corbett tipped his hand in his response to that bill. He claimed the NCAA, as an "athletic trade association," had gone too far with its sanctions on Penn State.
It's likely to be an antitrust suit. Editor's note: The Associated Press confirmed Tuesday night that it would be an antitrust suit. A person associated with the university and knowledgeable about the matter spoke with AP on the condition of anonymity because the lawsuit had not been filed.
Admittedly, to my non-lawyer's mind Corbett's strategy makes sense on paper. His main argument seems to be that if Penn State has to use taxpayer money to pay the $60 million, then the NCAA has no right to force that money to go out of Pennsylvania. There's one problem with that argument, though. There are at least three documented cases where Sandusky abused kids out of state. Two were mentioned in the criminal case, and Aaron Fisher (Victim 1) mentioned in his book that Sandusky molested him at least once in Maryland. Moreover, since there's evidence Sandusky started molesting kids as far back as the 1970s--and we don't know how many of those instances occurred out of state. Plus, if Corbett was so concerned about the taxpayers, why did he slow-walk the Sandusky investigation while he was attorney general? Surely he doesn't want to have to answer questions about that under oath.