When the Paterno family, as part of a group of plaintiffs, filed a lawsuit against the NCAA last week, it put college athletics’ governing body on a two-front legal battle; Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett filed his own suit against the NCAA in January in an effort to reverse the sanctions levied against Penn State following the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Turns out the NCAA will only have to fight one of those lawsuits — for the immediate future, that is.
Per the Associated Press, U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane has thrown out Gov. Corbett’s antitrust suit against the NCAA, citing a lack of “any factual allegations supporting (Corbett’s) allegation of ‘concerted action’ that might nudge its conspiracy claim into ‘plausible’ territory.”
The sanctions, Kane said, did not make for an antitrust case for the plaintiffs.
“The fact that Penn State will offer fewer scholarships over a period of four years does not plausibly support its allegation that the reduction of scholarships at Penn State will result in a market-wide anticompetitive effect, such that the ‘nation’s top scholastic football players’ would be unable to obtain a scholarship in the nationwide market for Division I football players,” Kane explained.
Corbett filed the antitrust suit less than a year after Penn State president Rodney Erickson signed a consent decree from NCAA president Mark Emmert that levied, among other sanctions, a $60 million fine, four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions on the program. At the time, Corbett went on the record to say Penn State must accept those penalties and his change-of-mind indicates the antitrust suit was nothing more than political grandstanding.
The NCAA filed a motion to dismiss Corbett’s case in February.
But what does this latest move mean for the Paterno family suit? NCAA guru John Infante explained last week in a Q&A that the two cases are similar in that both sought a reverse in PSU’s sanctions, so this decision could indicate the chances of success of the Paterno family suit in terms of overturning the penalties. Whether it actually does or not remains to be seen.