Pennsylvania State University officials said Wednesday they plan to move ahead on compliance with the NCAA punishment handed down in 2012 for the cover-up of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse crimes, despite a lawsuit filed against the athletic governing body by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
Corbett announced Tuesday he plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA to drop the sanctions on Penn State, Pennsylvania's flagship public university. The governor claims Penn State has been harmed by the NCAA's "harsh penalties," and that the organization "piled on," acting unlawfully because the NCAA stands to benefit from the sanctions.
Penn State has had no involvement in the planning of Corbett's lawsuit, according to a statement from spokesman David La Torre. For now, the university administration will act as if there is no lawsuit, according to the statement:
"The University is committed to full compliance with the Consent Decree, the Athletics Integrity Agreement and, as appropriate, the implementation of the Freeh report recommendations. We look forward to continuing to work with Sen. George Mitchell as the athletic integrity monitor for complete fulfillment of the Athletics Integrity Agreement. We recognize the important role that intercollegiate athletics provides for our student athletes and the wider University community. 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 NCAA also responded to Crobett's lawsuit, saying the organization believes it to be "without merit" and "an affront to all of the victims in this tragedy."
"Penn State has accepted the consequences for its role and the role of its employees and is moving forward," the NCAA's statement said. "[Tuesday's] announcement by the Governor is a setback to the University's efforts."
In July, the NCAA announced a bowl ban for Penn State's football team and a $60 million fine, which will go to fund causes chosen by the NCAA. The organization also vacated Penn State's football wins from 1998 to 2011, officially removing the late Coach Joe Paterno's title as the "winningest" coach in NCAA football history.
Corbett was the state's attorney general when his office launched a Grand Jury investigation into Sandusky's crimes.