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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said he will file a lawsuit against the NCAA over its unprecedented sanctions against Penn State following the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. The NCAA issued a statement criticizing the move, while Penn State said it will continue to comply with the NCAA’s sanctions.
The Republican governor gave a press conference on Wednesday explaining his decision, calling the NCAA’s sanctions “overreaching and unlawful,” reports Reuters. The NCAA hit Penn State with a $60 million fine and a four-year bowl game ban in July. The fine will go towards programs across the country that work to prevent child abuse.
“This was a criminal matter, not a violation of NCAA rules,” Corbett said, adding, “These punishments threaten to have a devastating, long-lasting and irreparable effect on the state, its citizens and its economy.”
“I cannot and will not stand by and let it happen without a fight,” he said.
According to Fox News, the NCAA has criticized the suit, calling it “without merit.”
“Not only does this forthcoming lawsuit appear to be without merit, it is an affront to all of the victims in this tragedy -- lives that were destroyed by the criminal actions of Jerry Sandusky," NCAA Executive Vice President and General Counsel Donald M. Remy said in a statement to the media. “While the innocence that was stolen can never be restored, Penn State has accepted the consequences for its role and the role of its employees and is moving forward.”
The Huffington Post reports that PEnn State spokesman David La Torre also issued a statement, saying that the university will still comply with the sanctions as if the suit will not be happening. “Penn State continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to excellence and integrity in all aspects of our University and continues to be a world-class educational institution of which our students, faculty, staff and alumni can be justifiably proud,” the statement read in part.
The university has already paid $12 million of the fine, notes Reuters. Sandusky, who was the football team’s defensive coordinator, was convicted of sexually abusing 10 children over the span of 15 years. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars, having been sentenced to 30 to 60 years.