The state of Pennsylvania filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA in an attempt to overturn the sanctions imposed on the Penn State football program as a result of the sexual-abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Gov. Tom Corbett announced Wednesday at a news conference in State College, Pa., that the state is pursuing legal action in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Pa. He said the sanctions were unlawful and an attack on the state's economy.
The NCAA replied in a statement from Donald M. Remy, executive vice president and general counsel, "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."
The NCAA penalties against Penn State for its response to the sexual-abuse allegations against Sandusky, which were handed down in July, included a four-year postseason ban for the football program, a $60 million fine, scholarship reductions and vacating all wins from 1998 to 2011.
The NCAA determined after receiving an independent report from former FBI director Louis Freeh that the school showed a lack of institutional control. Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and sentenced to prison.
Former coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the scandal and died of cancer last January.
Corbett, a former state attorney general, waited until after the football season to file the lawsuit, which was done without Penn State's involvement. because he said he didn't want it to distract the team, which finished 8-4. He argued that the Sandusky case is a criminal matter and the NCAA overstepped its authority in sanctioning the football program.
The state also questioned how the $60 million will be spent, saying all of the money should come back to Pennsylvania. The NCAA has said only a fourth of the money will go to the state, but a task force is deciding how it will be distributed.