Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will announce a federal lawsuit against the NCAA tied to the historic sanctions levied against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Corbett will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning in State College, Pa., to announce the suit, which will be filed by the state.
Penn State, which has been working in concert with the NCAA since the scandal, is not involved in preparing the suit. It is being handled solely by the state.
Corbett’s office has been vague in regard to the specific aim of the suit, but it appears to be dedicated to the overall sanctions issued by the NCAA in July. Corbett referred to them on Tuesday as “illegal sanctions.”
A wholesale suit against the NCAA by a third party as powerful as the state of Pennsylvania could loom as an important case in testing the ultimate power of the NCAA.
In July, the NCAA announced penalties that included significant scholarship reductions, a four-year postseason ban and vacated wins under former coach Joe Paterno. The sanctions were followed by heated debate about whether the NCAA had the jurisdiction to punish Penn State for its actions in the Sandusky case, which was primarily a criminal case.
Sandusky, Penn State’s former longtime defensive coordinator, was convicted in June for sexually abusing 10 boys. Sandusky, 68, was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.
It’s expected that Corbett’s announcement will transcend one of the local controversies that have percolated since the announcement of NCAA sanctions. One of those penalties, the $60 million fine, has become a point of contention in Pennsylvania politics. Local politicians have argued that the money should be used to fight abuse in the state of Pennsylvania, while the NCAA had initially targeted a more national approach for the money.
When reached by SI.com on Monday night, Gov. Corbett’s spokesman, Kevin Harley, declined comment. “We’re not prepared to say anything at this point,” he said.
The NCAA declined comment on Monday night and again when asked on Tuesday evening. Historically, the NCAA does not comment on suits until they are filed.
Penn State officials insisted they have nothing to do with the filing of the suit and stressed that they’ve worked in concert with the NCAA in the aftermath of the Sandusky case.
“Penn State has no involvement in this suit,” according to one Penn State official.