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Pennsylvania Governor Sues NCAA Over Penn State Sanctions

He calls the school's punishments illegal, citing "irreparable" damage to the state's economy.

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At a press conference Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced his lawsuit against the NCAA over the Penn State sanctions implemented after assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's sex scandal.

NCAA's punishment included stripping the football team of 14 victories under head coach Joe Paterno and fining Penn State University $60 million, which will go toward programs that prevent child sexual abuse.

Pennsylvania legislators have advocated for that money to stay within the state, even asking the NCAA in November to give the $60 million to local programs. On Wednesday, Gov. Corbett appeared alongside Pennsylvania business owners to argue that the sanctions have been detrimental to the local economy.

Joe Paterno's family spokesman has issued a cautious statement of support for the lawsuit:

"As we have not yet had an opportunity to review the lawsuit filed by Governor Corbett today, we cannot comment on the specifics of the litigation. What we do know, however, is that this matter is far from closed. The fact that Governor Corbett now realizes, as do many others, that there was an inexcusable rush to judgment is encouraging."


NCAA Executive Vice President and General Counsel Donald M. Remy also responded to the lawsuit:

“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.”

Meanwhile, the university appears to have maintained its acceptance and distanced itself from Corbett's decision:

"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."

Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jessica Testa at

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