STATE COLLEGE, Pa. —
"We're not going to get into the politics of this," he said.
Corbett, a member of the Penn State board of trustees by virtue of his office, said he waited until now to sue over because he wanted to thoroughly research the legal issues and avoid interfering with the football season.
The state's lawsuit alleges the NCAA violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prohibits agreements that restrain interstate commerce. It claims the NCAA "cynically and hypocritically exploited the tragedy" in order to "gain leverage in the court of public opinion, boost the reputation and power of the NCAA's president, enhance the competitive position of certain NCAA members, and weaken a fellow competitor."
The NCAA punished Penn State "without citing a single concrete NCAA rule that Penn State has broken, for conduct that in no way compromised the NCAA's mission of fair competition, and with a complete disregard for the NCAA's own enforcement procedures," the suit added.
Legal experts called it an unusual case whose outcome is difficult to predict.
Howard Langer, a Philadelphia-based attorney specializing in antitrust law, said the state must show the NCAA acted in a way that hurt competition and inflicted the "type of injury that antitrust laws were intended to remedy."
The NCAA has faced antitrust litigation before, with mixed results. In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA's exclusive control over televised college football games. And in 1998, the Supreme Court let stand a ruling that said the NCAA's salary cap for some assistant coaches was unlawful price-fixing.
But federal courts have consistently rejected antitrust challenges to NCAA rules and enforcement actions designed to preserve competitive balance, academic integrity and amateurism in college athletics.
In this case, the courts might not be as sympathetic to the NCAA, said Matthew Mitten, director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee.