Paterno Family to File Lawsuit Against NCAA

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2013

The NCAA-imposed sanctions in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal continue to hang a dark cloud over Penn State football, but forthcoming legal action from the Paterno family could turn things around for the university. 

UPDATE: Wednesday, May 29. at 11:58 p.m. ET by Eric Ball

As expected, the Paterno's have released a statement regarding the lawsuit through Wick Sollers, the attorney representing the Paterno family (via
“This case is further proof that the NCAA has lost all sense of its mission. If there was ever a situation that demanded meticulous review and a careful adherence to NCAA rules and guidelines, this was it. Instead, the NCAA placed a premium on speed over accuracy and precipitous action over due process.

An illegally imposed penalty that is based on false assumptions and secret discussions is a disservice to the victims and everyone else who cares about the truth of the Sandusky scandal. This matter will never be resolved until the full facts are reviewed in a lawful and transparent manner.

The one thing everyone should agree on is that the Sandusky scandal deserves a thorough, fair and careful review. The victims of Sandusky, the community of State College, the Second Mile and everyone associated with Penn State deserve to know the full truth of what happened. The NCAA's actions sought to limit the knowledge of the case and trample the rights of the individuals and institutions that were unfairly and inaccurately blamed by the Freeh report.”

---End of update---


On Wednesday night's episode of Costas Tonight on NBC Sports Network, representatives of the Paterno family are expected to announce a lawsuit to appeal the punishments handed down by the NCAA. 

From Dustin Hockensmith of

Among the guests on the show are Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers, former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh and Paterno family spokesman Dan McGinn.

The three men will announce on the show a new lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of Penn State and the Paterno family, (NBC's Adam) Freifeld told PennLive today.

The Paternos have praised Gov. Tom Corbett's federal trust lawsuit against the NCAA and has long been rumored to file a suit of its own. The family demanded an appeal of NCAA sanctions against Penn State's football program last summer, which were based on findings from the Freeh report.

Bob Costas famously interviewed Sandusky in November of 2011 when the scandal broke. Hockensmith's report notes that the sportscaster "has expressed a degree of skepticism about the Freeh report's findings and said the Paterno family had reason to conduct an investigation of its own."

Though the school would stand to benefit from a favorable verdict for the Paterno family, Penn State is not taking part in this lawsuit, per's Ben Jones

The consequences of the scandal and alleged cover-up by Penn State administrators has been severe. In addition to costing Joe Paterno his job, it has led to the suspension of athletic director Tim Curley as well as the resignation of Penn State senior vice president Gary Schultz and president Graham Spanier.

The NCAA came down hard on the university, levying a $60 million fine. Specific to the school's football program, the athletic association imposed a four-year scholarship reduction and postseason ban. The team also had to vacate all wins from 1998 on. 

Other lawsuits were filed in response to how the situation was handled. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, as did Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman

The NCAA promptly filed its own lawsuit against Corbett and the state of Pennsylvania after Corbett signed a law into effect that would ensure all of Penn State's $60 million fine would be spent in the state. 

It's been a trying saga for all parties involved, and given this latest lawsuit, one that seems far from over.


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