News Column

Taxpayers Foot Bill for NCAA Lawsuit

July 26, 2013

Gov. Tom Corbett's failed attempt to get the federal courts to overturn the NCAA sanctions has cost taxpayers nearly $383,000.

And that's not the final tally. All the bills from Philadelphia law firm Cozen O'Connor have not yet been processed, according to the governor's Office of General Counsel.

That outside firm was hired to assist Corbett's in-house lawyers in the anti-trust lawsuit that was filed in U.S. Middle District Court in January.

Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesman for the general counsel's office, said the total cost for the governor's suit that the judge compared it to a "Hail Mary pass" will not be known for a few more weeks.

The $382,852 in legal bills processed as of July 18 is enough to cover tuition and fees for 23 freshmen at Penn State's University Park campus.

In the lawsuit, Corbett tried to make a case that the NCAA sanctions slapped on Penn State last summer in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Those sanctions included a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, scholarship limits and loss of all wins by the football team (112) between 1998 and 2011.

The NCAA countered that Corbett lacked legal standing to bring the anti-trust case and that the governor's lawsuit was based on a series of economic what-ifs.

In the end, the court's Chief Judge Yvette Kane ruled last month that she didn't have to determine whether Corbett had legal standing because his argument that the NCAA breached the antitrust law by engaging in a conspiracy to hamstring Penn State's football program simply "fails on all prongs."

Corbett's General Counsel James Schultz said earlier this month that the administration would not be appealing Kane's decision.

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(c)2013 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)

Visit The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.) at www.pennlive.com

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Source: Copyright Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA) 2013


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