Immediately upon Governor Tom Corbett signing into law the bill designed to keep Penn State’s $60 million fine inside Pennsylvania, the geniuses at the NCAA filed suit in Federal court in an attempt to block the new law.
The new law, called the Pennsylvania Institution of Higher Education Monetary Penalty Endowment Act (or PIHEMPEA, for short), was endorsed by Corbett, who feels that it “makes sense and is the right thing to do.”
This turkey agrees — not with the NCAA’s fine, but with the Gov’s position. Sandusky committed his criminal acts in Pennsylvania, endangering the children of the commonwealth. So, why should the money, which is supposed to be used to provide resources and education to combat child sexual abuse, go elsewhere?
The NCAA obviously doesn’t agree, but why? I’ll tell you why. They just don’t know when to let up. We’re back to the best defense being a good offense yet again. The NCAA is so used to having its way about these punishment issues that it expects its targets to lay down and accept the penalty. When some backbone shows up, they go into attack mode.
Problems abound here and a plethora of questions beg to be asked. The NCAA is certainly exceeding its authority by going after a whole damn state, isn’t it? On the other hand, it is the state that is showing the backbone, not the university. Rod Erickson and the Board of Trustees essentially asked, “How high? when the NCAA said, “Jump!”, but the Pennsylvania legislature would have none of that pussification. Their response: “Drop dead!”
So, this suit names Corbett, along with the auditor general, the treasurer, and the chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency as co-defendants. These are the primary functionaries who would be engaged in distribution of the money or oversight of such distributions.
There is no doubt whatsoever in my birdbrain that the NCAA will once again attempt to hang its legal hat on the notion that Penn State signed the infamous consent decree, which in their minds was unassailably final. This is what appeasement does — it complicates the hell out of things later on when sanity returns. Now that sanity has indeed returned and people are thinking with their minds instead of their hearts and other bodily parts, we’re stuck with the too hastily signed consent decree. In my non-legal opinion, it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, inasmuch as it was signed under duress — namely, the cocked gun of the “Death Penalty” pointed at Rod Erickson’s head. But’s that’s my mind and whether it makes any sense legally is something for the courts to decide. Suffice to know that it will be tested. It will undoubtedly be hashed and rehashed many times over in various courtrooms over the next few years.
What a huge waste of money all this is! Why does the NCAA care about the money remaining within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? What’s their stake in it? Here’s what their lawyers wrote:
“By seizing the funds and restricting eligibility to benefit from the funds only to Pennsylvania programs benefiting only Pennsylvania residents, the act will defeat the consent decree’s plain terms and frustrate the parties’ intended purpose.”
Would someone please tell me what the hell they’re doing? “Will defeat the consent decree’s plain terms and frustrate the parties’ intended purpose” — WTF? Where in the consent decree does it state that the funds will be used in any particular location, or not? And what really was the intent of “the parties”. (Presumably, the parties in question are the NCAA and Penn State University.) Did Penn State ever have a plan for spending a $60 million fine it didn’t know about until a day before the consent decree was signed? Did Emmert and his henchmen even have a plan in mind?
What the suit is about is control of the disbursement of the funds. Pure and simple. Pennsylvania wants it. The NCAA wants it. Pennsylvania passes a law. The NCAA sues. The lawsuit claims the new legislation is unconstitutional because it directs state officials to collect money to which the state is not entitled and the state has no right to change the contract between the NCAA and Penn State.
So what’s our friend Emmert have to say about all this? He essentially said that members must cleave unto him and if others get involved in modifying penalties, college sports would be “dramatically altered.” Ha! He be right.
You can read the Executive Summary of the suit, if you want to save some time, or read the actual filing, if you’re thus inclined. Also, you can read about this suit in ESPN.com or AP Sports.