State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Corbett fends off criticism of NCAA lawsuit

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 4, 2013 4:03 PM
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Gov. Corbett insists his lawsuit against the NCAA is a legitimate way to repeal the sanctions placed on Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. But it’s not exactly happening in a political vacuum.

In an appearance on witf’s Radio Smart Talk Friday, Corbett responded flatly to the criticism his lawsuit is a ploy to get back into the good graces of Penn State alumni and fans.

“It’s not," said Corbett.  "That’s what I say. It’s the right thing to do.”

A Franklin & Marshall College poll done last September captures what might be the best snapshot of voters’ dissatisfaction with Corbett and how it can be traced back to Penn State. In the survey, just 17 percent of respondents thought Corbett did a good job investigating Sandusky while he was Attorney General.

“By the fall there was no doubt that the voters of this state… had indicated their unhappiness with the way the investigation was handled,” said pollster Terry Madonna.

Candidates for Attorney General also piled on in the weeks before the general election. Democratic Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane says she’ll investigate Corbett’s handling of the case when she assumes her new office.

Given all that, Madonna said the lawsuit could have a redeeming effect for Corbett – it could serve as a distraction from any ensuing investigation.

“Look, this is deeply mired in politics now, and almost anything can happen,” said Madonna.

The same F&M survey also showed that 54 percent of polled voters thought the NCAA sanctions were unfair – the whole premise of Corbett’s lawsuit.

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