Sudden Impact: Fallout

Sudden Impact: Fallout!

by Ben Goldfarb on January 3, 2013

in Current Events, Penn State Scandal

A day has passed since Governor Tom Corbett filed suit against the NCAA on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is time for Sudden Impact to poke around for some diverse reactions.

“A state government challenging the NCAA’s power to regulate a matter only loosely connected to sports represents a worrisome alignment of litigants, facts and law for the NCAA.”  —Michael McCann

Based on what I’ve read thus far from my layman’s view, the most insightful legal analysis of the potential road ahead comes from Michael McCann, writing for Sports Illustrated. Michael McCann is director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School and the distinguished visiting Hall of Fame Professor of Law at Mississippi College School of Law. He is also a visiting professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where beginning in Fall 2013 he will launch and direct a sports and entertainment law institute. McCann fairly assesses the chances for both sides in this interesting and polarizing case without diving into the emotional or political abysses that characterize many of the other overnight reactions to Corbett’s lawsuit. If you want the straight scoop, McCann’s article, entitled “Analyzing key issues in Pennsylvania’s case against NCAA“  is a must read.

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One major facet of the story I wrote yesterday involves the NCAA and its media pals egregiously hiding behind “the victimmmmmmms” because there is no defense for the manner in which the NCAA heavy-handedly mauled Penn State, employing extortion while circumventing its own rules. Well, “Victim Four” has stepped forward and objected to being used as a smokescreen for the power-hungry organization. In a story by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, #4′s attorney states,  ”The NCAA acted as if it were the victim in this tragedy, and failed to even take the pulse of the real victims before imposing its will.” The victim himself was not in favor of the sanctions against Penn State. Read all about it here.

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Naturally, the Pennsylvania political opportunists are out there waiting to pounce on Corbett, so expect the lawsuit to be challenged, laundered, put through the wringer, and hung out to dry. (Does anyone else remember when washing machines had wringers?) Anyhow, Bruce Castor, who might challenge the incumbent for the Republican nomination was cautiously vocal:

“Gov. Corbett originally embraced the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State. His sudden reversal, and the decision to spend substantial taxpayer money on a federal lawsuit against the NCAA, now raises more questions than it answers.”

Read the full story in PennLive.com. Expect a lot more of the same in the coming weeks and months.

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“The big problem is Penn State agreed to it. It’s hard to argue over procedure when you’ve got a negotiated deal.” —Steve Morrissey

The question of whether this case will even be heard by the District Court is a major one. Another PennLive.com article gives the responses of legal experts to questions regarding the case. One of those legal experts was Steve Morrissey, a member of the legal team that won a landmark 2008 anti-trust suit against the NCAA. ”The big problem is Penn State agreed to it. It’s hard to argue over procedure when you’ve got a negotiated deal,” he said.

Negotiated? This Turkey feels that “negotiations” conducted under threats are not negotiations. Extortion is the word I used for the midnight machinations of Master Emmert and his Ninjas. However, who am I? I’m just a turkey, not a lawyer. Read what the legal eagles are saying.

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Penn State Professor of Psychology Keith Nelson attended yesterday’s presser at the Nittany Lion Inn. He asserts that those of us who feel strongly about spanking the NCAA not just sit back and leave it to Tom Corbett and his legal team. We need to be vocal in our support, inasmuch as we’re up against some very significant hurdles (see above). If you’re hungry for more background on the NCAA’s flawed decisions, you might want to pick up a copy of Prof. Nelson’s book, Free the Nittany Lions! The Amazing Saga of the NCAA & PSU Football.

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No overnight reaction would be complete without the Grey Lady, the Paper of Record chiming in. The New York Times offers more legal opinions about the potential success or failure of Corbett’s case against the NCAA, including more words of wisdom from Steve Morrissey.

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Another major newspaper, the Washington Post, was unabashedly more polarized against Corbett and his legal maneuver, directly attacking his political motivation. “It is hard to image a more disgusting political maneuver, one which the good people of the commonwealth should denounce by punting him out of office,” wrote Post reporter Jennifer Rubin, in an op-ed entitled “Gov. Tom Corbett disgraces himself,” further plucking the harp strings in hopes of  exciting sympathetic vibrations, “The issue here really is not a legal one but a moral one. There is no penalty that can repair the damage to so many lives and correct the endemic corruption of a university that allowed a child predator to operate for so long.” The only thing that resonates with me is that there seems to be a media coalition that could be called “Babes Against Brass Balls” (BABBs). You’ve gotta read this!

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Tom Corbett felt the need to defend himself publicly, which he did via the Marty Griffin Show on Pittsburgh’s CBS radio affiliate, KDKA 1020. Full audio and a brief written story is available at KDKA’s website.

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This has been a mere smattering of the stories I’ve read this morning, so consider yourself smattered. But you know what? Where the hell are my manners. In all the hubbub about Corbett (who will be played by the late Leslie Nielsen in the forthcoming biopic) :), I forgot to wish you all a Very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2013! Let it be so!

K. John January 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Happy New Year Turkey.

I fully expect the next round of legal actions (plural) to drop in the next couple of weeks. There are several other legal avenues that can be explored as well. Look for a few civil suits as well.

The Nittany Turkey January 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Happy New Year to you, K.J.!

Don’t leave us all hanging. While I’m aware that the University will be re-opening negotiations with the Sandusky victims and their families, you allude to other lawsuits. Enquiring minds would like to know what you know.

All I’m expecting as the next move is a motion to dismiss by the defendant. However, I suspect it will be quite some time in the making, and God only knows how long it will take for a ruling.

So, what’s up?

—TNT

K. John January 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Well, the Corman suit has dropped. Hadn’t seen that earlier. I ‘strongly’ suspect that the Commonwealth will sue Penn State to force them to rescind the decree as the manner in which it was ‘negotiated’ and signed likely violated the University’s Charter, By-Laws and Standing Orders. I also expect certain individuals or groups of individuals to take action in one form or another. The amount of chatter I am hearing is incredible. I don’t know anything in particular but I do believe the calm before the storm has ended.

The Nittany Turkey January 5, 2013 at 3:56 am

I hope so!

That whole deal between Erickson and the NCAA needs to be examined and re-examined. There was a lot of ex post facto hand waving at the time it was cut about how Erickson was authorized by the BoT to represent the university, even though the $60 million commitment apparently exceeded his authority. Much of the deal smelled bad — particularly the purported extortion inherent in the “death penalty” threat — but now that we’ve all settled down, emotionality is on the wane and it is appropriate IMHO to attempt to nullify it.

—TNT

K. John January 5, 2013 at 10:57 am

Personally, I think the death penalty threat could lead to some civil action at some point.

The Nittany Turkey January 7, 2013 at 12:30 am

I would hope so. Extortion, by any other name…

—TNT

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