The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News, which has been on top of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal from the time it broke, weighed in on Tom Corbett's decision to file an antitrust suit against the NCAA. And it's not impressed. It points out--rightly--that in the name of standing up for Pennsylvania taxpayers, Corbett's suit is shaping up to be a big waste of their money.
The governor is looking to overturn all of the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State, including a four-year ban on postseason play and a loss of scholarships that could hurt the football program for years to come.The Patriot-News points out what a lot of other people have noticed--it's not a coincidence that Corbett is ramping this up a year before he's up for reelection.
First, it seems odd that a governor who has urged tort reform and curbing costly litigation has decided to sue the governing body of college sports. It’s possible that this suit could cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Corbett is running for re-election next year, challengers are already stepping up and the NCAA penalties have been vastly unpopular with the public.Regarding Corbett's claim that the scandal was not related to competitive matters, the paper points out--again, rightly--the voluminous evidence that Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Joe Paterno were motivated by the desire to preserve the football program's image above all else. The NCAA felt compelled to act because Spanier, Curley and Paterno's actions amounted to an egregious violation of one of the basic principles of intercollegiate athletics--that basic decency should never take second place to winning.
Plenty of the university's alumni have fumed over Corbett’s handling of the Penn State controversy, with some analysts suggesting that played a role in Kathleen Kane winning the race for attorney general.
The Patriot-News has a theory on why this suit was filed--to keep all or most of the $60 million fine imposed on Penn State within the borders of Pennsylvania.
The NCAA has said that 25 percent of the money will be spent in Pennsylvania, meaning 75 percent goes out of state.However, the paper thinks that Corbett would have been better off taking his case to the voters rather than filing a suit which it describes as "a gamble using taxpayer money." The paper missed something, though. Corbett didn't seem all that concerned about protecting taxpayers when he dragged his feet in getting Sandusky off the streets, even though he had enough evidence to make an arrest as early as 2009.
At the very least, those figures should be reversed: keep 75 percent for state programs and the other 25 percent can go elsewhere. Penn State is a publicly-supported institution, and services for victims of sexual assault in Pennsylvania have not received a funding increase in 11 years, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
It’s not about simply keeping money on our home turf. A $60 million pot requires responsible oversight to ensure that the money is spent correctly, and that challenge is magnified spreading it nationwide.