Governor announces lawsuit vs NCAA over Penn State scandal

Wed Jan 2, 2013 12:53pm EST
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(Reuters) - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced on Wednesday he will ask a federal court to throw out the multimillion-dollar sanctions levied by the NCAA against Pennsylvania State University regarding the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

"This was a criminal matter, not a violation of NCAA rules," Corbett said at a news conference, calling the NCAA sanctions "overreaching and unlawful."

Sandusky, Penn State's former defensive coordinator, was convicted in June of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years, some in the football team's showers. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

In July, the NCAA, the governing body of U.S. collegiate sports, fined Penn State $60 million and voided its football victories for the past 14 seasons in an unprecedented rebuke for the school's failure to stop assistant coach Sandusky's sexual abuse of children.

Corbett said a lawsuit, to be filed later on Wednesday, will ask a federal court to throw out all Sandusky-related sanctions against Penn State.

The Penn State scandal sparked a national discussion and awareness of child sex abuse, embarrassed the university and implicated top officials, including the late Joe Paterno, the legendary football head coach.

The scandal was revealed by a state grand jury convened in 2009 by Corbett, then Pennsylvania's attorney general.

Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, has vowed to probe Corbett's handling of the case. She has said she believes by convening a grand jury, Corbett failed to protect children by delaying prosecution for more than two years.

Corbett, a Republican, has said he welcomes an investigation into how he handled the case.   Continued...

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference on the Penn State campus in State College, Pennsylvania January 2, 2013. REUTERS/Craig Houtz