Pennsylvania Governor's Lawsuit Against NCAA Over Penn State Sanctions Dismissed

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 10: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference following a night of rioting in response to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal on November 10, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Corbett is the former state attorney general who launched the investigation in 2009 that eventually brought criminal charges against three former Penn State officials this week. As governor, Corbett is an ex-oficio member of Penn State’s board of trustees. Paterno was fired amid allegations that former former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse.   (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The NCAA has been met with plenty of opposition since imposing heavy sanctions against the Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but one of its biggest opponents was dealt a major blow on Thursday.

According to AP Top 25, a federal judge has thrown out the lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett against the NCAA in an effort to get the sanctions overturned.

Corbett originally filed the suit back in January, and it was antitrust in nature. Corbett hoped the lawsuit would force the NCAA to reconsider its punishment against Penn State, which includes a $60 million fine against the university, a four-year postseason ban for the football program, the loss of 112 wins from 1998 through 2011, a loss of scholarships and five years of probation.

The NCAA has held firm in sticking with the sanctions, and the dismissal of Corbett's suit will make it much easier to keep them in place.

According to the Associated Press (h/t StarTribune), Corbett's suggestion that the loss of football scholarships will significantly alter competitive balance wasn't grounds for a credible antitrust lawsuit.

U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane called it "a Hail Mary pass" and went on to explain:

The fact that Penn State will offer fewer scholarships over a period of four years does not plausibly support its allegation that the reduction of scholarships at Penn State will result in a market-wide anti-competitive effect, such that the 'nation's top scholastic football players' would be unable to obtain a scholarship in the nationwide market for Division I football players.

Top NCAA attorney Donald Remy is pleased with Kane's decision, as he believes it will allow Penn State to put the Sandusky scandal in the past and leave it there, according to Charles Thompson of PennLive.

Our hope is that this decision not only will end this case but also serve as a beginning of the end of the divide among those who, like Penn State, want to move forward to put the horror of the Sandusky crimes behind the university and those who want to prolong the fight and with it the pain for all involved.

The NCAA's fight is not over, though, as the Paterno family filed a suit similar to Corbett's. It remains to be seen if the Paternos' lawsuit will hold up, but the decision regarding Corbett's suit certainly doesn't bode well for the family.

While not everyone agrees with the NCAA's harsh punishment, there is no doubt that the NCAA aimed to make an example of Penn State in order to prevent anything resembling the Sandusky scandal from happening again.

The federal courts have supported the NCAA thus far, and the dismissal of Corbett's suit confirms that.


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