Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced in a press conference Wednesday he will seek to have the NCAA sanctions levied against Penn State lifted, saying they threaten to cause serious damage to the Commonwealth’s economy.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association imposed “unprecedented” sanctions on July 23 as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case. Some of the penalties issued included a four-year postseason ban, 40 scholarship reductions and a $60 million fine.
Court documents cite the Penn State football program as being an “important economic engine supporting Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth."
The suit argues that without the program running at its full capacity — like it did before the sanctions were levied — the state of Pennsylvania and its citizens are being irreparably harmed.
Court documents state that the suit filed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania comes from the NCAA and its member institutions using their “enforcement power for the purpose of crippling Penn State football, thereby harming citizens of the Commonwealth who benefit from a successful football program at Penn State.”
Those being harmed include people who earn income by working in the stadium on game days, shop owners who sell Penn State memorabilia and hotel owners and employees whose jobs depend on the influx of tourists to the area, according to court documents.
Court documents state that in 2010-2011 Penn State football earned more than $50 million, making it the second-most profitable collegiate athletics program in the country and the most profitable program in the Big Ten Conference.
The football program not only generates revenue for the university and provides for other athletic programs at Penn State, but also produces a substantial amount of money for the economy of Pennsylvania, according to court documents.
“The NCAA should not be permitted to exploit the tragedy in a way that harms Pennsylvanians and decreases the revenue base that supports worthy Commonwealth programs merely to enhance the NCAA’s own reputation and the competing football programs of the NCAA member colleges and universities,” court documents state. “These punishments threaten to have a devastating, long-lasting, and irreparable effect on the Commonwealth, its citizens, and its economy.”
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, among other things, is asking for the court to issue a permanent injunction to prevent the NCAA from imposing the sanctions set forth in the consent decree and award the Commonwealth the costs of the suit, including attorney’s fees, as provided by law.