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Pa. governor sues NCAA over Penn State sanctions

Pa. governor sues NCAA over Penn State sanctions

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Pennsylvania's governor, in a challenge to the NCAA's powers, claimed in a lawsuit Wednesday that college sports' governing body overstepped its authority and ``piled on'' when it penalized Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Gov. Tom Corbett asked that a federal judge throw out the sanctions, which include an unprecedented $60 million fine and a four-year ban on bowl games, arguing that the measures have harmed students, business owners and others who had nothing to do with Sandusky's crimes.

``A handful of top NCAA officials simply inserted themselves into an issue they had no authority to police under their own bylaws and one that was clearly being handled by the justice system,'' Corbett said at a news conference.

The case, filed under federal antitrust law, could define just how far the NCAA's authority extends. Up to now, the federal courts have allowed the organization broad powers to protect the integrity of college athletics.

In a statement, the NCAA said the lawsuit has no merit and called it an ``affront'' to Sandusky's victims.

Penn State said it had no role in the lawsuit. In fact, it agreed not to sue as part of the deal with the NCAA accepting the sanctions, which were imposed in July after an investigation found that football coach Joe Paterno and other top officials hushed up sexual-abuse allegations against Sandusky, a former member of Paterno's staff, for more than a decade for fear of bad publicity.

The penalties include a cut in the number of football scholarships the university can award and a rewriting of the record books to erase 14 years of victories under Paterno, who was fired when the scandal broke in 2011 and died of lung cancer a short time later.

The lawsuit represents a reversal by the governor. When Penn State's president consented to the sanctions last summer, Corbett, a member of the Board of Trustees, embraced them as part of the university's effort to repair the damage from the scandal.

Corbett said he waited until now to sue over the ``harsh penalties'' because he wanted to thoroughly research the legal issues and did not want to interfere with the football season.

The deal with the NCAA has been unpopular with many fans, students and alumni. Corbett, who is up for re-election next year, deflected a question about whether his response has helped or hurt him politically.

``We're not going to get into the politics of this,'' he said.

An alumni group, Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, applauded the lawsuit but said Corbett should have asked questions when the NCAA agreement was made.

``If he disapproved of the terms of the NCAA consent decree, or if he thought there was something illegal about them, why didn't he exercise his duty to act long before now?'' the group said.

Paterno's family members said in a statement that they were encouraged by the lawsuit. Corbett ``now realizes, as do many others, that there was an inexcusable rush to judgment,'' they said.

Corbett's lawsuit accuses the NCAA of cynically exploiting the Sandusky case, saying its real motives were to ``gain leverage in the court of public opinion, boost the reputation and power of the NCAA's president'' and ``enhance the competitive position of certain NCAA members.'' It said the NCAA has not cited a rule that Penn State broke.

Corbett charged that the NCAA violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prohibits agreements that restrain interstate commerce. Legal experts called it an unusual case whose outcome is difficult to predict.

The NCAA has faced antitrust litigation before, with a mixed record of success. 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.

``It's difficult to justify the sanctions as necessary to protect the amateur nature of college sports, preserve competitive balance or maintain academic integrity,'' he said.

Joseph Bauer, an antitrust expert at the University of Notre Dame law school, said of Corbett's line of reasoning: ``I don't think it's an easy claim for them to make, but it's certainly a viable claim.''

Sandusky, 68, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys, some of them on Penn State's campus. He is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence but insists he's innocent.

Michael Boni, a lawyer for one of Sandusky's accusers, said he does not consider the lawsuit an affront. But he said he hopes Corbett takes a leading role in pushing for changes to state child-abuse laws.

``I really question who he's concerned about in this state,'' Boni said.

Michael Desmond, a businessman who appeared with Corbett at the news conference, said business at his five State College eating establishments was down about 10 percent during Penn State home game weekends this year.

``The governor's actions are going to be immensely popular with all Penn State alumni,'' Desmond said.

Corbett, a Republican, said his office did not coordinate its legal strategy with state Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane, who is scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 15. Instead, the current attorney general, Linda Kelly, granted the governor authority to pursue the matter.

Kane, a Democrat, ran on a vow to investigate why it took prosecutors nearly three years to charge Sandusky. Corbett was attorney general when his office took over the case in 2009.

Kane had no comment on the lawsuit because she was not consulted about it by Corbett's office.

State and congressional lawmakers have objected to use of the NCAA fine to finance child-abuse prevention efforts in other states. Penn State has already made the first $12 million payment, and an NCAA task force is deciding how it should be spent.

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Associated Press writers Peter Jackson in Harrisburg and Michael Rubinkam contributed.

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Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

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USA Today Sports

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

Nearly two weeks have passed since the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to raise their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

With one team being a first-year expansion project that turned out beautifully and the other a franchise that had not appeared in a Stanley Cup Final since 1998, there was obviously a lot on the line.

Those away from the ice had 'a lot' on the line, too.

Prior to the start of the series, each city's mayor agreed on a bet that would force the losing team's member to wear an opposing jersey at the conclusion of the Cup.

Well, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman followed through on her end of the bargain.

Here is proof of her wearing the jersey of a man who led what was arguably the greatest post-championship celebration in sports history.

 

The Capitals announced Wednesday that the team's home opener and Stanley Cup banner unveiling will be played on October 3 against the Boston Bruins.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.

MORE ALL-STAR NEWS: