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Question of the Day
STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - The family of the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno _ along with several university trustees, former players and others connected to the school _ plan to sue the NCAA over the landmark sanctions against the university for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
The 40-page suit to be filed Thursday will name the NCAA, president Mark Emmert and Oregon State president Edward Ray _ who was chair of the NCAA’s executive committee as defendants, according to a statement released by attorney Wick Sollers and other family representatives late Wednesday night.
Paterno’s son, Jay Paterno, and Bill Kenney are two former Paterno assistants taking part in the action against the NCAA, the statement said. Also taking part in the suit are five trustees, four faculty members and nine ex-Penn State players, including Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, according to the statement.
The NCAA, Emmert and Ray “acted in clear and direct violation of the organization’s own rules based on a flawed report by former FBI director Louis Freeh,” the statement said. He led the university’s internal investigation into the scandal, arriving at scathing findings that pointed blame in part on Paterno and three former school officials.
“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,” family attorney Wick Sollers said. “Instead, the NCAA placed a premium on speed over accuracy and precipitous action over due process.”
The suit is designed “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,” Sollers told Costas according to excerpts provided by the show.
“There was no board approval, there was no transparency, and there was no consideration of this consent decree.”
It would be the latest filing in a tangled web of litigation related to the sanctions. Most prominently, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, which has also faced criticism for a botched investigation of Miami and departures in the enforcement division.
Among the penalties against Penn State were a four-year bowl ban, steep scholarship cuts, and a $60 million fine. The NCAA also vacated 111 wins from Paterno’s record, meaning he would no longer hold the title of major college football’s winningest coach.
Sollers, in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, said the suit would ask for the sanctions and agreement between school and the NCAA to be deemed unlawful and the penalties overturned, he said.
The lawsuit would also ask for unspecified damages and court costs, Sollers said, though the family would donate any net proceeds to charity.
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