At a news conference in State College on Wednesday morning, Governor Tom Corbett announced he is filing a federal lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over the numerous penalties the NCAA levied against Penn State University for the way school officials handled the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Corbett said the NCAA had no authority to hand down the sanctions, claimed the association “piled on” the penalties, and accused the NCAA of acting unlawfully because they stand to benefit from the sanctions. The Governor is seeking an injunction to prevent the NCAA from imposing the sanctions, a ruling declaring the penalty consent agreement signed by Penn State officials illegal, plus costs and legal fees.
Among the penalties imposed against Penn State was a $60 million fine, due in five payments of $12 million. The money for the first payment currently sits in an escrow account. Corbett had earlier stated that he wanted assurances that no Pennsylvania taxpayer money would be going out of state. The Commonwealth financially supports Penn State to the tune of about $214 million per year. Earlier, state Senator Jake Corman, from Centre County, whose district includes Penn State had said he is pursuing legal action to keep any of the fine money from leaving the state.
Penn State’s Board of Trustees issued a statement following the Corbett news conference saying the school is not a party to the lawsuit. An NCAA statement calls the legal action without merit, and says it is an affront to all of the victims in the tragedy.
Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing ten boys.