Pennsylvania to sue NCAA over Penn State sanctions
(CNN) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is to announce Wednesday plans to sue the NCAA over its sanctions against Penn State University, hit with an unprecedented fine in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Corbett did not detail Tuesday the nature of the planned federal lawsuit, but said he will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. ET in State College.
Last July, the NCAA fined Penn State University $60 million. It also stripped 14 seasons of football victories from late head coach Joe Paterno.
The fine will be paid over five years to fund an endowment with a mission of fighting child sex abuse and supporting victims. Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation objects to how the NCAA plans to spend only 25% of those funds within the state.
The delegation wants the NCAA to spend all of the $60 million in Pennsylvania, according to a November letter to the NCAA.
“While we fully support the stated purpose of the endowment, we believe its funds should be used solely for programs and organizations within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where a need exists for the creation of prevention programs for sexually abused children,” the letter stated.
The NCAA declined to comment Tuesday on the governor’s planned lawsuit, spokesman Bob Williams said. The NCAA historically doesn’t comment on any possible legal actions unless and until they are filed, he said.
David La Torre, Penn State spokesman, declined Tuesday to comment on the governor’s planned lawsuit “because we are not involved in the suit.”
Sandusky was convicted last June of 45 of the 48 counts he faced involving 10 young victims.
Penn State, a college football powerhouse and two-time national champion, avoided the NCAA’s “death penalty,” a suspension from play of a year or more, in the Sandusky abuse case.
But Ed Ray, the chairman of the NCAA’s executive committee, said the sanctions laid on the school “should serve as a stark wake-up call to everyone in college sports.”
The NCAA penalties followed an independent investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, whose report held Paterno and other top Penn State officials responsible for failing to stop the abuse beginning in 1998.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson said the university accepted the decision and would not appeal. “I think, for the whole university, what this calls upon us to do is to look at our whole value culture, our whole value set, our value base,” Erickson told CNN last year.
Paterno, who coached at Penn State for 46 years, was fired after Sandusky’s arrest in November 2011. Graham Spanier, the school’s president, also was let go.
Last July, the Big Ten Conference declared Penn State ineligible for any conference title football game and ruled that the Nittany Lions’ share of bowl revenues for four seasons — about $13 million — will be donated to charities that “protect children.”
Paterno had been the all-time leader in major college football victories for a coach, with 409 wins. The NCAA’s decision strikes 111 of those from his record, beginning in 1998 — a move that posthumously bumps him from the top of the list.
La Torre last year said that school will not use tax or tuition dollars to pay the NCAA’s $60 million fine.