NCF Nation: Tom Corbett

A federal judge on Thursday tossed out the antitrust lawsuit Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett brought against the NCAA that sought to overturn severe penalties imposed on Penn State and its football program.

U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane wrote it was a fairly easy decision to dismiss the lawsuit, as the NCAA sanctions against Penn State didn't meet the standards for an antitrust case.
"The fact that Penn State will offer fewer scholarships over a period of four years does not plausibly support its allegation that the reduction of scholarships at Penn State will result in a market-wide anticompetitive effect, such that the 'nation's top scholastic football players' would be unable to obtain a scholarship in the nationwide market for Division I football players," Kane wrote.

She said the questions the case raises are important matters of public debate but are not anti-trust grounds.

"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.

NCAA general counsel Donald Remy said he was "exceedingly pleased" with the ruling in a statement released Thursday.

The university wasn't a party in the case and has opted to stay out of all lawsuits against the NCAA, including the one fielded last week by the family of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

It will be interesting to see if the quick dismissal impacts the Paterno family lawsuit against the NCAA. The Paterno family camp doesn't sound too worried. ESPN.com's Lester Munson wrote last week that the Paterno family lawsuit is more viable than Corbett's "bizarre attack." The Paterno family lawsuit is a "serious effort that will determine the success or failure of the NCAA's efforts in the worst scandal in the history of college sports," Munson wrote.

Penn State's trustees -- at least those not involved in the Paterno family lawsuit -- are trying to promote the reforms they've adopted since the NCAA sanctions, hoping that the NCAA will eventually reconsider the penalties. Board chairman Keith Masser and trustee Joel Myers told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the university's consent agreement with the NCAA allows it to be reopened if both sides agree.

"You've got to serve some jail time before you serve probation," Masser told the AP. "Everybody wants to get this behind us as soon as possible, so we want to do whatever we can to get this behind us as soon as possible."
The NCAA on Thursday filed a motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit brought against it by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

Corbett's suit alleges several NCAA officials overstepped their authority by imposing severe penalties on the Penn State football program, including a four-year postseason ban and four years of scholarship reductions, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. The NCAA's motion, which you can read here, contends that Penn State signed a consent decree accepting the sanctions after an investigation commissioned by the school's trustees concluded that several top university officials were aware of Sandusky's crimes and didn't act appropriately.

From the motion:
Governor Corbett is a member of PSU's governing board, which voted to ratify the Consent Decree. In this case the Governor seeks, under the guise of antitrust law, to overrule his fellow Trustees and usurp the discretion that the Legislature delegated to PSU. This lawsuit is an inappropriate attempt to drag the federal courts into an intra-state political dispute. The remedial measures that Penn State agreed to were controversial, and have elicited strong feelings on all sides. Some think they are too harsh, and some think they are too lenient. But none of those feelings have anything to do with the antitrust laws.

There's a lot more there about why the NCAA believes the allegations about antitrust violations aren't true.

 

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