The white knight is a bit tarnished
Gov. Tom Corbett faces abundant questions about his own handling, as attorney general, of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case. Regardless of whether political fallout has motivated him to file an antitrust action against the NCAA for the draconian sanctions it imposed on the Penn State football program, the suit serves a valuable purpose in exposing the hypocrisy and hubris of the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert.
Mr. Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach, is in prison for life. The university's former president, chief financial officer and athletic director await trial on charges related to their alleged failure to report Mr. Sandusky's conduct and allegedly covering up that failure. Victims of Mr. Sandusky's conduct have sued the university. All of those actions have occurred within their appropriate realm, the court system.
As others have pointed out, the suit makes plain that the NCAA acted far outside the scope of its own rules in imposing the sanctions. It conducted no investigation, alleged no violation of NCAA rules and allowed Mr. Emmert and the executive committee to impose sanctions even though both specifically are barred by the NCAA bylaws from intervening in sanctions proceedings.
The suit also points out that, as Dr. Emmert condemned the supposed culture at Penn State that made football too big to challenge, he collected a $1.6 million salary derived from sports revenue as the NCAA collected $864 million in sports-related revenue in 2011 alone.
It also quoted Dr. Emmert when he was the president of Louisiana State University: "Simply put, success in LSU football is essential for the success of Louisiana State University."
Antitrust cases often are difficult to prove. But regardless of whether this suit succeeds, it will serve a valuable purpose in debunking the NCAA's claim to being some sort of white knight.