Pennsylvania Suing NCAA Over Penn State Restrictions

The state is suing in federal court for removal of the penalties imposed in response to the Sandusky abuses.

In the wake of the public outcry over the Sandusky abuse scandal, many people blamed Penn State, a school where love of football helped engender a conspiracy of neglect and silence. When the NCAA handed down very harsh penalties on the university, some felt justice had been done, while others felt the restrictions were too harsh.

The state of Pennsylvania is evidently in the latter camp, as state officials are filing a federal suit against the NCAA on antitrust grounds. The suit alleges that the penalties, including a four-year ban on bowl games and reduced football scholarships, are unlawfully harmful to the university and the state of Pennsylvania.

[Governor Tom Corbett] said the NCAA’s actions were unlawful and overreaching, and that it essentially forced Penn State to accept the sanctions under the threat that if the school didn’t accept them, the NCAA would impose on the football program a “death penalty” a suspension from play of a year or more.

What do you think? Is Pennsylvania standing up for fair competition, or trying to get out of appropriate penalties for the university’s actions?

About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is a writer and editor, and quite possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.


  1. Been waiting for this one.

    The Failure was “Institutional” – The sanctions were against the Institution! As I recall, all affected parties – that was sportsmen and women on scholarships were given the option to transfer to other institutions so as to not be damaged. Now the state of Pennsylvania wants to claim that the sanctions make PSU uncompetitive.

    I think that happened some time ago when they left kids being abused. The world just didn’t know about the issue – and the cover up just added way to much icing to the uncompetitive cake!

  2. wellokaythen says:

    I think higher education should divest itself of big-time sports programs, so I have no sympathy for football boosters at Penn State or anywhere else, but the NCAA is in the wrong here.

    What the NCAA threatened was essentially collective punishment – punishing an entire institution for the wrongs of a few of its members. If an anthropology prof was raping students and the administration looked the other way, the AAUP wouldn’t call for all the students’ Anthro credits to be invalidated or call for Penn State to shut down all the social sciences. Collective punishment is barbaric, and it’s overkill. It’s like bombing civilians in order to put pressure on their government….

    • wellokaythen says:

      P.S. Besides, how do you actually prevent someone from going to a bowl anymore? There are enough bowls out there that you don’t even have to have a winning record anymore. Make up your own damn bowl game and send your team to it. Anybody can be a sponsor now. Call it the “Pennsylvania Bowl” or “The Penn State/Pizza Hut Bowl” and invite your team and one other, some team that would have no shot at a bowl otherwise.

  3. Ban on bowl games and reduced scholarships ? so a group of young men are being punished for the actions or inactions of others ?
    Man, they sure showed those men who had nothing to do with it.

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