In a stunning and very public about-face, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced today that he will file a lawsuit asking federal courts to throw out the NCAA sanction given to Penn State University as punishment for the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Corbett said at press conference that he plans to argue, via antitrust laws, that the NCAA had "no authority and operated outside its own bylaws" when it handed down five years of probation, post-season bans, and $60 million in penalties for what was ultimately a criminal matter.
The decision to sue is at odds with Corbett's own words. After the penalties were handed down in July of 2012, Corbett publicly accepted the decision, stating, "Part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed today by the NCAA on Penn State University and its football program." The university also formally agreed to accept the punishment. The formal acceptance seriously undermines the argument for the new lawsuit. However, Corbett now says the school was essentially blackmailed into accepting the decision or risk facing a much more severe "death penalty" punishment that would have temporarily shut down the entire football program. He also argues that sanction unfairly punish the citizens of his state, including Penn State students and employees, for a crime they didn't personally commit.