Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is fending off criticism that his lawsuit against the NCAA was filed for political reasons.
The governor is suing the governing body for collegiate athletics over the sanctions it placed on Penn State’s football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Corbett maintains he didn’t object to the penalties when they were handed down over the summer because he didn’t realize the NCAA had violated its own rules.
He insisted Friday that he would not have filed the lawsuit if he didn’t think he had a legitimate case.
“It’s not going to be an easy one to win,” he acknowledged. “But I believe it’s in the best interests of the citizens of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania who are being harmed by this, particularly those up in the State College area, the Centre County area.
Between the original sanctions and the lawsuit just filed, however, Pennsylvania voters and candidates in last year’s attorney general race started questioning Corbett’s role in the Sandusky investigation.
“By the fall there was no doubt that the voters of this state — and that was a poll of registered voters — had indicated their unhappiness with the way the investigation was handled,” explains Franklin & Marshall College pollster Terry Madonna.
Madonna says the lawsuit could serve as a distraction from any ensuing investigation into how Corbett handled the Sandusky case while he was attorney general
Democratic Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane has promised she’ll look into whether the prosecution was dragged out on purpose.
The same Franklin & Marshall survey showing that only 17 percent of polled voters thought Corbett did a good job investigating Sandusky while he was attorney general also showed that 54 percent of polled voters thought the NCAA sanctions were unfair.