Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will file a lawsuit later today against the NCAA, asking the court to throw out all the sanctions leveled at Penn State by the organization after the Jerry Sandusky scandal became public.
“These punishments threaten to have a devastating, long-lasting and irreparable effect on the state, its citizens and its economy,’’ Corbett said in a statement released to the press.
In July, the NCAA enacted the sanctions as punishment for what it saw as silent complicity while former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky molested and sexually abused 10 boys, some of the assaults taking place on school grounds.
Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison in August after he was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse of the boys. The aftermath of the scandal also cost legendary football coach Joe Paterno his job. He was unceremoniously fired in November 2011, and died in January 2012. His statue was later removed in July from the public eye.
After Sandusky's conviction, the NCAA reviewed the grand jury report and the report prepared by special investigator Louis Freeh before determining the sanctions. The resulting punishment was the following:
- A $60 million fine.
- A four-year ban from bowl games.
- All Penn State victories from 1998 to 2011 were vacated, erasing Paterno's top spot in the NCAA record book for most major-college wins.
- A reduction of annual scholarships from 25 to 15 for four years.
- Five-year probation in which the university will have to work with an NCAA monitor.
Corbett told the press that these sanction seriously debilitated the college's ability to do business.
“The university is an economic engine, creating jobs, not only university-related jobs, but jobs in the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry and generating hundreds of millions of dollars for businesses of all sizes in the commonwealth.’’
According to the governor's office, Penn State‘s football program:
- Brings in an estimated 15 percent of visitors to Penn State football games from outside the state;
- Generated $161.5 million to business volume impact in 2009, with $90 million benefitting Centre County alone;
- Spent $16 million in Pennsylvania on goods and services with contractors and vendors in 2009 – essentially pumping money back into the state’s economy;
- Creates about 2,200 jobs - both direct jobs, such as box office and concession staff, and indirect jobs, such as shopkeepers to restaurant and hotel staff; and
- Generates more than $5 million in tax revenue and supports a number of community programs run through and in conjunction with football and student athletics.
“These sanctions did not punish Sandusky for his despicable and criminal action," said Corbett. "Nor did they punish the others who have been charged criminally. Rather, they punished the past, present and future students, current and former student athletes, faculty members, local businesses and the citizens of Pennsylvania who have come to cherish this great university.’’
The NCAA responded to the suit Wednesday afternoon, when Donald Remy, NCAA executive vice president and general counsel, released the following statement to the press:
“We are disappointed by the Governor’s action [Wednesday]. Not only does this forthcoming lawsuit appear to be without merit, it is an affront to all of the victims in this tragedy — lives that were destroyed by the criminal actions of Jerry Sandusky. While the innocence that was stolen can never be restored, Penn State has accepted the consequences for its role and the role of its employees and is moving forward. The announcement by the Governor is a setback to the University’s efforts.”