Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett attempted to build some good will in the state by filing a lawsuit challenging the NCAA on the sanctions brought on Penn State last summer. Thought to be somewhat doomed from the start by many, Corbett's lawsuit has now been thrown out by a federal judge.
BREAKING:Federal judge throws out lawsuit by Pa. governor against #NCAA over Penn State sanctions.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) June 6, 2013
The lawsuit was filed in January but it did not take U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane very long to dismiss the case. According to the Associated Press, Kane said she could not "find any factual allegations supporting (Corbett's) allegation of 'concerted action' that might nudge its conspiracy claim into 'plausible' territory."
The case seemed to be built on a shaky foundation to begin with, considering Penn State president Rodney Erickson signed a consent decree accepting whatever penalties were handed to the university by the NCAA following the release of the Freeh Report. The consent decree remains a boiling point for some regarding the actions taken by the NCAA and Penn State's leadership, but it always seemed as though by accepting the punishments in writing, regardless of how it developed, that any case seeking to overturn those sanctions was climbing an uphill battle.
And that may, in fact, be a part of the bigger picture here. Addressing some of the concerns may have been the ultimate goal all along, and the recent lawsuits filed against the NCAA continue to keep those questionable actions in a spotlight to some degree. Judge Kane even remarked that the issues are fair to discuss, just not in her court room.
Per the Associated Press;
"In another forum the complaint's appeal to equity and common sense may win the day, but in the antitrust world these arguments fail to advance the ball," Kane said.
Now the question becomes what the impact of this decision could mean for a similar lawsuit recently filed with the leadership of the family of Joe Paterno. John Infante, or Athletic Scholarships and a noted expert on the rules and laws surrounding the NCAA, recently told College Football Talk the cases are intertwined.
According to Infante, per College Football Talk;
Certainly, they’re intertwined in that they’re both talking about the same theories, same legal questions. Obviously, if Corbett were to win or lose decisively one way or the other, it would have a big impact on the chances of success of the claims the Paternos are making. And since [the Paternos are] talking about reducing the sanctions — and that’s also a big focus of Corbett’s lawsuit — if the NCAA lost and the sanctions are reduced in that case, or if the NCAA came to some sort of settlement with Pennsylvania, then you remove some of the things the Paternos are asking for in their own lawsuit.
So they are tied together, but there’s enough difference that you wouldn’t combine these two cases into one big case and you wouldn’t necessarily say if Corbett wins or loses then the entire Paterno case is essentially decided for them.
As it relates to Penn State, for now, nothing has changed. Penn State is about to enter the second full year of NCAA sanctions, with three years of a postseason ban and scholarship reductions still to play through. A settlement of some sort resulting in at least a partial restoration of scholarships may eventually be a best-case scenario for Penn State, but even that may be a stretch.
Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.
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