NCAA seeking dismissal of antitrust suit by Gov. Corbett

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HARRISBURG -- The National Collegiate Athletic Association has asked for the dismissal of a federal antitrust lawsuit by Gov. Tom Corbett that contests the sanctions issued against Penn State University after the Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

In a motion filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the NCAA argued that Mr. Corbett lacks standing to challenge the sanctions, which were agreed to by Penn State, and that his lawsuit fails to allege harm to economic competition in support of its antitrust claim.

The governor, a Republican, announced Jan. 2 that he would file suit arguing the NCAA had no authority to punish Penn State over its handling of the child sexual abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

In July, Penn State agreed to a number of sanctions, including a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on postseason play, a four-year reduction in the number of players on scholarship and the canceling of all Penn State football wins from 1998 to 2011.

The fine, which the NCAA said approximates one year's gross football revenue, is to be paid into an endowment for programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims.

The governor's lawsuit argues that Penn State violated no NCAA rules and that the sanctions will punish Penn State students, local businesses and Pennsylvania residents, not anyone responsible for the crimes.

The NCAA argued in its filing Thursday that Penn State has authority to agree to contracts and that Mr. Corbett is taking a Pennsylvania political dispute to the federal courts.

"The remedial measures that Penn State agreed to were controversial, and have elicited strong feelings on all sides," the NCAA filing said. "Some think they are too harsh, and some think they are too lenient. But none of those feelings have anything to do with the antitrust laws."

A bill requiring money from the $60 million fine to be spent on programs within Pennsylvania unanimously passed the state Senate last week.

Penn State announced in December it had set aside its first $12 million installment while an NCAA task force establishes an endowment.

state - psusports

Karen Langley: or 717-787-2141.


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