Our opinion: Taking on the NCAA

Guess how many Penn State Alumni there are in Pennsylvania.

Answer: A lot.

Guess how many Penn State Alumni are unhappy with the penalties heaped on their alma mater following the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal that rocked the university’s fabled football program and administration.

Answer: A lot.

Guess who will face re-election next year.

Answer: Governor Tom Corbett, who announced on Wednesday that the interim attorney general he had appointed and will serve for another two weeks had given him permission to sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which meted out the penalties to the football program.

The governor’s disgust with the NCAA had apparently been festering for some time, though, until Wednesday he had kept his feelings on the down low. He said he didn’t want to do anything that would detract from the football season. In fact, when he made the announcement he and his staff hadn’t consulted the incoming attorney general, Kathleen Kane. They would get around to that later. Kane, a Democrat, ran on a vow to investigate why it took state prosecutors nearly three years to charge Sandusky, an assistant under longtime football coach Joe Paterno. Corbett was the attorney general when that office took over the case in early 2009 and until he became governor in January 2011.

Yes, this is the same Gov. Corbett who cut Penn State’s state subsidy by 30 percent last year, who is now going to court to sue over over the damage to the university from the NCAA’s sanctions.

A private law firm will handle the suit for the governor; the governor’s office did not offer an estimate of cost.

Corbett, when asked about the political ramifications of his suit, danced a little sidestep (a nod to Dolly Parton’s lyrics for a theatrical Texas governor) and said, “We’re not going to get into the politics of this.”

Whether Corbett gets into it or not, virtually everything in government comes down to politics.