Paterno Family Sues NCAA


The heirs of Joe Paterno, the late Pennsylvania State University head football coach, are apparently suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association over sanctions the NCAA issued on Penn State due to the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal last year.

According to an Associated Press article in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Paterno family lawyer Wick Sollers says the 40-page suit… will question decisions made by the NCAA leadership in levying penalties that include a four-year bowl ban and steep scholarship cuts.

A statement late Wednesday night from Paterno’s representatives indicated the lawsuit also would question the findings of a withering report by former FBI director Louis Freeh, whom the university tapped to lead an investigation into the scandal. The NCAA levied sanctions less than two weeks after Freeh released his report last July.

The Paterno family is joined by several university trustees, a few professors, and former players.

Family attorney Wick Sollers explained that his lawsuit exists “to redress the NCAA’s 100 percent adoption of the Freeh Report. … The reality is that consent decree was imposed through coercion and threats behind the scenes and there was no ability for anyone to get redress.”

“There was, Sollers said on NBC Sports Network’s “Costas Tonight” show last week, “no board approval, there was no transparency, and there was no consideration of this consent decree.”

Perhaps most importantly, however, the Freeh Report holds Paterno partially responsible for Penn State’s decision to cover up allegations of Sandusky’s abuse.

The family is also seeking compensation “for unspecified damages and court costs,” though it said it would donate any of that money to charity. It’s not, apparently, about the money; it’s about Paterno’s legacy. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer