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The Penn State scandal seems to never go away. Even in the wake of an 8-4 season and new head football coach Bill O’Brien being named the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year, Penn State can’t seem to get away from the negative press. The most recent development occurred this last week when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state against the NCAA.
Recall that Penn State, in the wake of the scandal, agreed to settle any claims the NCAA might have against it for failure to supervise its football program and coaches. The school agreed to pay a fine of $60 million, lose bowl eligibility for four years, and lose football scholarships. These penalties were harsh, but it saved State College from the NCAA infractions process and the prolonged negative press associated with it. The agreement between the NCAA and Penn State also included a clause that prevents Penn State from challenging the NCAA’s authority in court.
However, the state of Pennsylvania was not a party to that agreement and is not prevented from making such a challenge. Enter Gov. Corbett. The Governor has spoken fervently about his support of Penn State and the excessive nature of the NCAA’s sanctions. The lawsuit is his latest assault, but it doesn’t seem likely to succeed.
When I step back and look at this lawsuit, I only see one thing: a political move. It seems like a pretty safe play for a politician in Pennsylvania to defend Penn State, the most beloved college in the state. Maybe I’m just being cynical, but this reeks of political strategy and not merit.
-Tracy R. Hancock
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