Penn State student leaders are standing behind Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s recent lawsuit to lift the NCAA sanctions imposed against the university.
Corbett held a press conference on Jan. 2 and explained that the National Collegiate Athletic Association's sanctions on the football program, which include a $60 million fine and a four-year postseason ban, would be economically damaging and unfair to the university as a whole. He announced that the state of Pennsylvania would file an antitrust lawsuit later that day.
Several student representatives attended the press conference and reacted positively to Corbett’s decision, despite the university’s response to continue complying with the sanctions.
University Park Undergraduate Association President Courtney Lennartz said the sanctions against the university and the football program are unfair because they are affecting the wrong people.
“The sanctions are falling on current Penn State students by not allowing the university to recruit and taking away scholarships,” Lennartz (senior-health policy and administration) said. “It impacts more than just the football team.”
Lennartz said the NCAA went outside its purview of power and that the sanctions will only cause negative effects.
“It will be difficult to keep morale up for four years because of the bowl ban,” Lennartz said.
Lennartz said some students may not understand the legal terms of the lawsuit, but do understand what they want to see as a result of Corbett’s proposal.
“The outcome is what everyone can agree upon, which is for the sanctions to be lessened,” she said.
Lennartz said that hearing the sanctions in July 2012 was hard, but Corbett is doing the right thing by filing suit now to focus on the fairness of the sanctions without immediate reactions getting in the way.
“By Corbett waiting so long to make the announcement, we are able to separate emotions from the bigger picture,” she said.
Ryan Brown, president of the Penn State Student Black Caucus, also said the association overstepped its power and there were no infractions committed by the Penn State Athletic Department to deserve the sanctions.
He said the scholarships taken away is one of the biggest problems he has with the sanctions.
“The way in which the sanctions were handed out was unfair,” Brown (senior-integrative arts) said. “The students here and the students not being able to come here because scholarships were taken away are all affected by the decision that the NCAA made.”
Brown said he hopes the university and the students will one day be able to move past the sanctions and the lawsuit.
Council of Commonwealth Student Governments President Ben Clark attended Corbett's press conference because he thinks it is important for students to stand by him. Clark (senior-accounting) said students still have a lot of questions regarding the NCAA sanctions.
“I think students are anxious to see where this goes,” Clark said. “Whatever happens, [the lawsuit] is a good opportunity to put the all of this to rest.”