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UPDATE: Governor Corbett wants to toss NCAA sanctions against PSU

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 2, 2013 11:32 AM
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(State College) -- Governor Corbett says he intends to file a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA in an effort to overturn what he said were ``harsh penalties'' against Penn State because of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Flanked by members of his staff and current and former students and athletes from the school, Corbett says the NCAA punished students, the community and businesses around the university, not the former assistant football coach who molested children.

The sanctions imposed in July included a $60 million fine for child abuse prevention grants, a four-year bowl game ban for the university's marquee football program and the forfeiture of 112 wins.

Corbett says the lawsuit to be filed later today would show the NCAA actions were overreaching and unlawful.

Meantime, Joe Paterno's family says it's encouraged the governor is filing a federal lawsuit against the NCAA. 

The family of the late football coach released a statement today that says that Corbett ``now realizes, as do many others, that there was an inexcusable rush to judgment'' in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

The NCAA imposed the penalties in the wake of a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh that concluded Paterno and other Penn State officials covered up abuse reports. The scandal cost Paterno his job two months before his death last January at age 85.

Penn State statement following Corbett's announcement:

Penn State is not a party to the lawsuit and has not been involved in its preparation or filing.

University officials said, "The University is committed to full compliance with the Consent Decree, the Athletics Integrity Agreement and, as appropriate, the implementation of the Freeh report recommendations. We look forward to continuing to work with Sen. George Mitchell as the athletic integrity monitor for complete fulfillment of the Athletics Integrity Agreement. We recognize the important role that intercollegiate athletics provides for our student athletes and the wider University community. Penn State continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to excellence and integrity in all aspects of our University and continues to be a world-class educational institution of which our students, faculty, staff and alumni can be justifiably proud."

Statement from NCAA:

"We are disappointed by the governor's action today. Not only does this forthcoming lawsuit appear to be without merit, it is an affront to all of the victims in this tragedy - lives that were destroyed by the criminal actions of Jerry Sandusky. While the innocence that was stolen can never be restored, Penn State has accepted the consequences for its role and the role of its employees and is moving forward. Today's announcement by the governor is a setback to the university's efforts.

 

*This story was updated 1/2/13  at 12:04 p.m., 12:27 p.m. and 12:47 p.m.

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