NYU Law Professor Richard Epstein argues that NCAA president Dr. Mark A. Emmert overzealously overstepped his authority in levying a $60 million fine on Penn State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett has filed suit against the NCAA.
“The NCAA, however, is not just another private organization. It occupies an intermediate status because of its power to discipline all the colleges who are its members for infractions of its rules. It is, so to say, the only game in town, so that the college that does not want to play by its rules has no other association to which it can turn. It is for just this reason that the due process claims merge into the antitrust claims that the complaint urged.
Quite simply, it is the presence of that strong coercive power that should impose on the NCAA a correlative duty of fair treatment of those parties on whom it wants to impose sanctions. In dealing with this issue, the matter is most troublesome not because of the sanctions that befell Jerry Sandusky, who was properly sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for what he did. What is at stake here is the blowback of the Sandusky affair on Penn State’s athletic programs.”