The family of Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who died amid a scandal of sex abuse charges that tainted his football program, is filing a lawsuit Thursday to overturn the NCAA sanctions against the school.
The suit claims the sanctions — including a four-year ban on bowl competition and scholarship cuts — were imposed with uncharacteristic and unnecessary speed, The Associated Press reported.
Joining the petition are former players and several others connected to Penn State, AP reported. The suit, which spans 40 pages, names the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, as well as Oregon State President Edward Ray, as defendants. Mr. Ray was chairman of the NCAA during the investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse allegations.
The suit also seeks to clarify a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who headed the investigation into Mr. Sandusky. The report findings were cited by NCAA officials in the handing down of strict sanctions, and suit petitioners claim its content was shaky, AP reported.
“This case is further proof that the NCAA has lost all sense of its mission,” said Wick Sollers, the lead attorney for Mr. Paterno’s family, in the AP report. “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.”