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Who will prevail in Pennsylvania's suit against the NCAA?

January 02, 2013
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is suing the NCAA for what he describes as "piling on" in its sanctions against Penn State stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is suing the NCAA for what he describes as… (Ralph Wilson / Associated…)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett filed a federal lawsuit against the NCAA on Wednesday, claiming that college sports' governing body "piled on" when it penalized Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

The sanctions included a $60 million fine and a four-year ban on bowl games. Penn State itself said it had no role in the lawsuit.

Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss which side will prevail in the matter. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment of your own.

Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times

Nice try, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

You know Pennsylvania voters will love the federal lawsuit you’re filing against the NCAA for the crippling sanctions it levied against their beloved Penn State.

But you also know Penn State agreed to those penalties, even if they came down without a NCAA investigation or hearing and were unrelated to broken NCAA rules. 

You further know that Penn State isn’t even involved in this suit.

But, hey, you need to curry favor in your run for re-election in 2014, especially after the public beating you took for being on the board that fired Joe Paterno over the phone.

You’ll probably curry that favor, but you’ll certainly lose this case. Again, nice try. 

Mark Wogenrich, Allentown Morning Call

“Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. NCAA” raises a host of intriguing points, not the least of which concerns the NCAA’s potential overreach in sanctioning Penn State. But Gov. Tom Corbett’s suit struggles on some of the financial notes.

For instance, it mentions (uncited) a 2009, university-commissioned study that established Penn State football’s “business volume impact” on the state at $161.5 million. The suit alleges that the NCAA sanctions will have “devastating, long-lasting and irreparable” effects on that impact.

However, that report preceded Penn State’s 2010 introduction of a new seating plan that raised prices for some season-ticket holders. In response, fewer fans renewed season tickets. The NCAA reasonably could argue that the new pricing affected attendance, and the economy, at least as much as the sanctions.

Perhaps Pennsylvania’s best hope is a settlement to reduce sanctions, thus keeping both parties out of court for years.

George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel

Although I am obviously not a legal eagle, you don’t have to be Thurgood Marshall to smell the stink from this frivolous lawsuit.

The state of Pennsylvania should just say “our bad,” and forget this suit against the NCAA. It smacks of petty payback for the NCAA dropping the hammer -- rightfully so -- on Penn State University.

Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett  says the NCAA is simply piling on by punishing students, businesses, football players and coaches who had nothing to do with the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.

Hello? Punishing those left behind is standard operating procedure for the NCAA. It usually has no other recourse. That is the only way to do business in the NCAA.

Legally and rightfully so, I might add.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

No idea.

But what I do know is that this lawsuit reeks. The stench is that of a person (Gov. Tom Corbett) and a school (Penn State) that are not willing to accept responsibility for the worst scandal in the history of college sports. It also stinks because of what it represents: Penn State accepted the NCAA’s sanctions. Now there is a movement to unaccept them. And to do that, Corbett will employ a bunch of lawyers, we can only assume, at taxpayer expense.

The strange part here is that Penn State is not a party to the lawsuit. You wonder if school officials realize that the right thing to do is move on and continue to rebuild the program. But a litigious politician seems eager to halt that process.

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