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Federal Judge Dismisses Pennsylvania Governor’s Suit Against the NCAA

June 6th, 2013 at 1:48 PM
By Daniel Werly

U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane of Pennsylvania’s Middle District granted the NCAA’s Motion to Dismiss Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Corbett’s lawsuit seeking to overturn sanctions levied against Penn State University (Case Number 13-cv-00006). Last July, the NCAA sanctioned Penn State for their role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal with unprecedented sanctions including a $60 million fine and vacating 14 seasons of football victories. 

In the Order dismissing the case, Judge Kane stated that “Plaintiff’s complaint fails on all prongs: it fails to allege commercial activity subject to the Sherman Act; it fails to allege that Defendant’s activity constituted a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act; and, it fails to allege that Plaintiff suffered an antitrust injury.”

Such strong language indicates that this decision likely will not be appealed (or in the event it is appealed, it is unlikely to be overturned). However, Judge Kane’s opinion did offer some advice for future attacks on NCAA sanctions (although in a different context): “The Governor’s complaint implicates the extraordinary power of a non-governmental entity to dictate the course of an iconic public institution, and raises serious questions about the indirect economic impact of NCAA sanctions on innocent parties. These are important questions deserving of public debate, but they are not antitrust questions.”

It will be interesting to monitor whether this decision impacts the recently filed by the Paterno family against the NCAA.  

Tags: Dismiss, Law, NCAA, Penn State, Sports, Sports Law, Thomas Corbett

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