It was announced today that Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett is suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association, saying the organization exceeded its authority last year when penalizing Penn State University over the Jerry Sandusky child-sex-abuse scandal.
The NCAA hit Penn State with unprecedented penalties. Starting with a $60M fine, as well as a four-year bowl ban, scholarship reductions and the vacating of all football wins between 1998 and 2011, which knocked the late Joe Paterno from the ranks as the all-time winningest head coach.
Corbett’s suit is centered around the fact that the NCAA imposed sanctions in a criminal matter, “not subject to NCAA oversight and based the punishment solely on a report by former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis Freeh“.
The Freeh Report blamed university officials, including Paterno, from preventing Sandusky from abusing children. University president Rodney Erickson then signed a consent decree, accepting the sanctions.
Corbett and others have called the NCAA penalties “arbitrary and illegal”, stating that NCAA officials violated federal antitrust laws when they “conspired to restrain and suppress competition” by punishing Penn State to the advantage of other NCAA members.
“The only logical conclusion is that the NCAA did it because they benefited from the penalties and because the leadership of the NCAA believed they could,” Corbett said.
It should be noted that the Pennsylvania State University is not party to the lawsuit. The university is moving forward, while Governor Corbett is taking action.
There are varying opinions regarding whether the suit lacks any merit, but it truly is another black-eye for an out of control organization.
Weeks back the NCAA fired lead investigator in the Shabazz Muhammed case. Abagail Grantstein was let go due to her handling of the case against the UCLA freshman basketball star – and bullying tactics that took place in the investigation.
Prior to that, a judge ruled that the NCAA was “malicious” in it’s investigation of a former Southern California assistant football coach, Todd McNair. The report on supposed ethical breaches was flawed and it appears the former coach will win his defamation claims.
During that time, Miami was also back in the news as the NCAA sent out a letter to former players, explaining that they will be considered guilty if they don’t speak up and prove their innocence.
The exact verbiage explained that if the imposed deadline to talk wasn’t met, that association “will consider the non-response as your client’s admission of involvement in NCAA violations.”
The NCAA is taking a huge hit on the PR front – but will it make a difference? Will it promote change? Could this make a difference in how the NCAA rules against Miami – who has cooperated fully from day one? Does this sway the court of public opinion – which was very anti-The U when the Yahoo! Sports story broke.
Hang tight. We’ll soon find out.