What Is the Pa. Governor Trying to Accomplish by Suing the NCAA?

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterJanuary 2, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks with Penn State student leaders behind him during a press conference at the Nittany Lion Inn, November 11, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Corbett has said he supports the Penn State Board of Trustees decision to fire former football head coach Joe Paterno. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Tom Corbett, governor of Pennsylvania, is suing the NCAA, and his goal is clear: get the federal court to throw out the sanctions levied against Penn State in 2012. Corbett is pushing to squash the sanctions on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth, as reported by Reuters.

On paper, it certainly appears to be pretty simple. Penn State football generates a lot of money; the sanctions limit the school's ability to continue to run that money machine, and the people associated with the area need the program to continue to thrive a community.

However, there is certainly more to it than that. This is a case where, should it go to trial, Corbett and his team will have an opportunity to hammer down the NCAA. Not from a financial standpoint, but rather, a chance to grill the NCAA over their own procedures and protocol. This is truly a case that can force the heavily-shrouded NCAA process, or lack thereof, to become more standardized.

With Penn State, we're dealing with an NCAA that many people feel overstepped its bounds in disciplining the school for a criminal act. While coming down swiftly on the university, in the name of being anti-child abuse, the NCAA decided that it would play moral arbiter as opposed to sticking to its rulebook that governs extra benefits and recruiting practices.

In deciding to inject itself into what certainly was a criminal ordeal, the NCAA opened themselves up to this lawsuit in more ways than one. Its controversial decision to skip their own investigation, taking instead the Louis Freeh Report as the gospel and the strong arming of Penn State into accepting the sanctions were mighty egregious.

While the Board of Trustees elected to skip their appeal of the sanctions, the state of Pennsylvania, led by Governor Corbett, is lining up to storm the NCAA's gates. On the micro level, the governor hopes to overturn the sanctions that are going to become increasingly crippling as the school gets deeper into their midst. 

At the larger, macro level, Corbett could accomplish more in the realm of outlining a way to fight the NCAA's practices. Schools will certainly have their eyes trained on this lawsuit as a way to fight the gang in Indianapolis. While Penn State is falling in line and saying the right things to the NCAA, having a chance to strike the sanctions will likely have the Nittany Lions watching this case very closely.