Gov. Corbett filed a federal suit Wednesday against the NCAA for what he called "overreaching and unlawful sanctions" placed on Pennsylvania State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse case.
The suit called the penalties a "capricious and arbitrary" use of its enforcement power done with the intention of "crippling" Penn State football, which generated $50 million in 2010-11.
The 43-page complaint alleges that college sports' governing body seized on the publicity of the Sandusky case "to make a showing of aggressive discipline on the backs of the citizens of the commonwealth."
"These sanctions did not punish Sandusky or the others who were criminally charged," Corbett said. "They punished past, present and future students."
The NCAA said the suit was "without merit" and called it a setback to the university's efforts to restore its reputation.
The suit represented a change of heart by Corbett on the sanctions.
At the time the NCAA announced the penalties in July, Corbett, a member of the Penn State board of trustees, said he was grateful the NCAA did not issue even tougher sanctions. He added that "part of the corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed today."
Asked about that change of position, Corbett's spokesman Kevin Harley said Corbett came to believe the NCAA had overstepped its bounds and had not followed its bylaws, which limited sanctions to infractions relating to recruitment, academics, and football.