Skip to main content

Earlier today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced that the state is suing the NCAA to overturn all of the sanctions it imposed on Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Corbett, in a suit to be filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, will ask that the whole menu of punishments be voided, on the argument that the NCAA - which regulates collegiate athletics - did not follow its own rules in handing them down.

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

Read the lawsuit here (warning, self-downloading PDF).  It claims that the NCAA had no authority to intervene in the matter at all, since there was no effect on competitive balance or integrity on the playing field.  

What Corbett overlooks, though, is that the NCAA also has the power to ensure that a school is controlling the program, and not the other way around.  The NCAA felt compelled to step in because based on evidence that came out even before the Freeh report, it was obvious that Penn State's control over the football program was lax at best and nonexistent at worst.  At the very least, based on that evidence, Paterno should have been fired in 2001 when he suggested that the shower incident that took place that year should be handled internally.  Indeed, based on evidence that Penn State assistant coaches knew Sandusky was molesting boys for some time and didn't report it, one can make a pretty good argument that if Graham Spanier and Tim Curley had mounted any sort of investigation after the 1998 shower incident, Paterno would have been fired then.  While I think the NCAA could have waited until the federal criminal investigation and the Clery Act probe were complete, I can understand why it stepped in when it did.  The NCAA will likely argue that Penn State's inaction violated basic principles of intercollegiate athletics.

If Corbett wins this suit--and based on legal analysis I've read so far, it's an awfully big if--it could set all of sports law on its ear.

Corbett said he's also suing to limit the likely economic damage the sanctions will do to both Penn State and the state.  But where was that concern when he was attorney general?  There's pretty compelling evidence that Corbett dragged his feet in investigating Sandusky, even though by all accounts he had enough evidence to make an arrest as early as 2009.  According to Aaron Fisher (Victim 1)'s book, Aaron was given no fewer than three arrest dates with no action.  Corbett is pretty much asking to be forced to defend his handling of the investigation under oath.  I didn't know there were stores in the Pittsburgh area (where Corbett lives) where you can buy cojones that big.

Stay tuned.

Originally posted to House of LIGHTS on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:04 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site