NCAA’s Penn State Sanctions Questioned by Court

University's $60 million fine, four-year bowl ban could be overturned

PennLive reports that Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court is prepared to examine — and perhaps overturn — the NCAA’s $60 million fine and four-year bowl ban on Penn State, sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky case. Penn State, you’ll recall, agreed to the sanctions in a consent deree with the NCAA.

That possibility was opened in a ruling upholding a state law — passed after the punishments were imposed —requiring the fine money “be used exclusively for child sexual abuse prevention and treatment in Pennsylvania.”

The court, in a majority opinion written by Judge Anne Covey, held that the door to the larger review was opened by arguments raised over the suit seeking immediate enforcement of the law keeping all fine proceeds in Pennsylvania.

“High school athletes who had no involvement in the criminal acts were prevented from obtaining a free college education,” Covey wrote, explaining why she felt the larger issue merits further review.

“Student-athletes, trainers, coaches and support personnel who were taught and trained to be and do their best were stopped from competing… by the prohibition against post-season play.

“Student-athletes, trainers, coaches, administrators and support personnel who had excelled in their jobs through hard work, practice, commitment, team work, sportsmanship, excellence and perseverance were told none of that mattered.”

Before you ask: No, Judge Covey did not attend Penn State. 

In a separate story, PennLive’s Charles Thompson notes that Joe Paterno’s defenders were near-giddy at the ruling. Paterno’s coaching record was stripped of his Sandusky-era victories by the NCAA.

That was a moment worth celebrating for the legions of Penn State alums and fans who feel the school’s once-unassailable Paterno Era heritage was thrown under the bus by current university leaders in the hopes of making the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal disappear.

“This is where the consent decree really starts to completely unravel” Scott Paterno, son of the late head football coach Joe Paterno and a lead plaintiff in a separate lawsuit over the sanctions in Centre County court posted Wednesday afternoon on Twitter.