November 24, 2012;University Park, PA, USA; A general view of the stadium prior to the game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Corbett vs. Emmert


Well, that was quite the way to ring in the new year.  2013 wasn’t even twelve hours old when Pete Thamel’s report about Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s plan to sue the NCAA over the Penn State football sanctions hit Twitter.  It was obvious Penn Staters hoping for a quieter year regarding the school and “it” would have to wait for a bit.

VBR has not actively covered the scandal or the many legal issues surrounding it.  There are plenty of other PSU sites that have done an outstanding job of that, and will continue to with this latest development.  In fact, we have largely stayed away from even mentioning it for a number of reasons.  But this is just a little too ridiculous to not at least share some thoughts on.

Tom Corbett may not be public enemy number 1 with PSU fans, but he’s certainly near the top of the list for his involvement on many levels of the Sandusky investigation and the fall out at Dear Old State.  He took a central role in the drama in the hours following the announcement of charges against Sandusky, Curley and Schultz, and ultimately the dismissal of Joe Paterno.  In fact, after the announcement of the very sanctions he is now suing to have vacated (pun totally intended), he was quoted as saying “part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed today by the NCAA on Penn State and its football program.”

Taking out the man at the front of the lawsuit, it would be admirable on a lot of levels to see someone in a public position of authority at the very least calling out the NCAA on some of the ridiculous statements and accusations made against Penn State.  But I can’t separate the actions from the man completely.  Tom Corbett is a man who at every possible opportunity has acted in way that would suggest he is more concerned about public perception (and votes) than the proper thing.  Just five and a half months ago, as a voting member of the PSU Board of Trustees, Corbett acknowledged the sanctions were justified.  Wednesday he said he wanted because he did not want to distract from the extraordinary season and the young men who chose to stay at Penn State.  At times during his brief press conference, he appeared to be reading the various talking points found on blogs and message boards.

It’s hard to really see what the end game is here for the Governor.  I’m not a lawyer (which is shocking, given I write for a PSU blog), but it’s hard to imagine this being resolved in a manner timely enough to have any real impact.  Is his only goal to pander to the sizeable Penn State voting bloc come November 2014 when he is up for reelection? Is this a power play to get more control over the $60 million fine the State Legislature has been actively challenging for some time? Does he just want to give us the great theater of seeing two of the most despised men among PSU fans wage a public relations war?

Like everything to go on in Happy Valley these past 14 months, time will certainly tell. In the interim, I suggest familiarizing yourself with coping mechanisms from last year.  This is not going away soon.

Follow VBR Lead Editor Matt de Bear on Twitter for all the latest Penn State news.

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Tags: Football Mark Emmert Ncaa Sanctions Penn State Nittany Lions Tom Corbett

  • Willie Green

    I’m not a lawyer either, but I’ve watched plenty of crime shows on TV.
    In my obviously biased and uneducated opinion, Tom Corbett’s lawsuit against Mark Emmert would have more teeth to it if he had filed under the federal RICO statutes. The antitrust legislation, designed to prohibit unfair restraint of trade and assure a more competitive marketplace, just wasn’t meant to address the means by which Mark Emmert used public opinion to hold Penn State hostage and extort unprecedented financial penalties. Emmert and the NCAA were way out of bounds and exceeding their jurisdiction when they levied these penalties based on flimsy, unsubstantiated inuendo. Their actions more resemble those of the Mafia than they do of some corporate executives using unfair tactics to stifle market competition.