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As expected, Paterno family files suit against the NCAA

Sue and Joe Paterno AP

Late Wednesday night, “Costas Tonight” aired on NBCSN and examined the Freeh Report and the Paterno family’s lawsuit against the NCAA.

In a statement issued Wednesday night, which you can read in its entirety HERE, news of that lawsuit was made official. The plaintiffs in the suit, which will be filed Thursday, include the Paterno family, along with “several members of the Penn State Board of Trustees, faculty and former players and coaches.”

As expected, the crux of the lawsuit stems from the idea that the NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, forced Penn State’s hand into signing a consent decree based on the Freeh Report. The suit states Emmert “and former chairman of the executive committee, Edward Ray, acted in clear and direct violation of the organization’s own rules based on a flawed report by former FBI director Louis Freeh.” In all, Emmert and Ray are facing six counts, including breach of contract, civil conspiracy, defamation and commercial disparagement. The suit asks that the sanctions levied against the Penn State football program be overturned and seeks both compensatory and punitive damages from the NCAA.

Here’s more from the statement:

“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,” said Wick Sollers, attorney for those filing the lawsuit.

“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,” Sollers said. “This matter will never be resolved until the full facts are reviewed in a lawful and transparent manner.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has already filed a similar suit against the NCAA. How that case, as well as this one, holds up in court remains to be seen.

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39 Responses to “As expected, Paterno family files suit against the NCAA”
  1. baywatchboy says: May 29, 2013 11:36 PM

    And if there was ever a time for a coach of Paterno’s stature and a school like Penn State to demand meticulous review, it would have been when the raping of young boys first surfaced. Oh wait, that would have meant that you did NOTHING to discourage said behavior and in reality, gave Sandusky the go ahead to continue doing it.

    You want an illegally imposed penalty? Let’s look at what those boys and their family have had to go through. The Paternos, the school and anyone else involved with covering this up should just shut up and go away.

  2. agc99 says: May 30, 2013 12:19 AM

    Why is football more important than the lives of young boys? Some people just don’t get it. All they care about are the wins.

  3. draconian1111 says: May 30, 2013 2:06 AM

    Well said baywatchboy.

    Their main bone (bad choice of words..) of contention is that the NCAA got involved in what THEY see as a purely legal matter – Sandusky.
    They don’t seem to realize (or their collective heads are buried in the sand) that the matter IS NCAA territory as well as there was OBVIOUS knowledge of the incidents and that they were covered up in the name of ONLY FOOTBALL MATTERS.

    Paterno’s legacy, as well as all of those involved in wrongdoing -is permanently tarnished or ruined. I don’t think of Paterno as a good coach now – I think of him as someone who ONLY cared about football – to hell with humanity. He knew – and he basically played the bumbling old fart card – doesn’t fly.
    I don’t care about the NCAA or the report or anything – only thing that matters is what happened, who knew, and the kids that were hurt.
    If you’re butt hurt because your name is in a report and you KNEW about what was going on and didn’t stop it – too damn bad – you DESERVE it.
    The gall of these people to continue to think of themselves when it was the KIDS that were hurt.

  4. frug says: May 30, 2013 2:42 AM

    From a purely a legal standpoint it seems pretty obvious to me that the NCAA violated its contract with Penn St. when it empowered Emmert to directly sanction PSU instead of going through the normal disciplinary system and if PSU were to challenge the sanctions in court they would win.

    The problem for the plaintiffs in this case is that none of them are PSU meaning they don’t have standing to challenge the sanctions. If the plaintiffs had chosen to sue Penn St. itself for accepting the sanctions then they might have had a chance (though it would be a longshot), but that is not what they chose to do. As is, these lawsuits are frivolous and pure PR moves.

  5. nc1965 says: May 30, 2013 5:54 AM

    Article: “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,” Sollers said.

    Kids got banged up the -a s s- by an adult, and it was hidden by the head coach and others.

    And they are saying that the penalty is based on false assumptions? WOW!

  6. tommy57 says: May 30, 2013 6:22 AM

    I can’t comment for Sandusky’s victims, but I can tell you about a similar situation involving a Catholic Priest. It’s not the entire Catholic Church that a victim wants punished, it’s the offending Priest and the Bishop who covered it up.

    It seems to me the NCAA used the shotgun punishment approach with PSU. A bowl ban is misguided and does nothing to help – it primarily directs punishment at the innocent.

    The PSU situation was far beyond the competence of the NCAA to administer – it should have always been a legal issue, not a sports management issue.

  7. nesuperfan says: May 30, 2013 6:46 AM

    The NCAA should counter-sue the Paternos into financial oblivion.

  8. rowdy1854 says: May 30, 2013 7:29 AM

    The Paterno’s just need to understand that their father wasn’t the great guy they, and a lot of people thought he was. He was only concerned about football and didn’t care about those kids that were abused. I don’t want to hear someone say, well he told his boss and thought that was enough. BS, you call the friggin police and let them investigate like any decent human being would have done.

  9. vincentbojackson says: May 30, 2013 7:48 AM

    The NCAA needs a total overhaul. They need to clean house from top to bottom and start over. After the poor handling of the Penn State and Miami investigations they lost what little credibility they had left.

  10. omniusprime says: May 30, 2013 8:43 AM

    The Paterno family is nothing but worthless immoral pedophile hugging scum and should have their pathetic suit of lies thrown out of court. The trustees from Pedophile State are just as pathetic and proves how corrupt this university is. Nothing but a bunch of corrupt republicans trying to weasel out of their just punishment, just like republican Governor Corbett who refused to prosecute Sandusky.

  11. 23chameleons says: May 30, 2013 8:46 AM

    It’s not taking anything away from the victims of Jerry Sandusky. He’s had his trial and conviction and the civil trials will work thru the compensation to the victims. It’s clear that most of you have firmed you opinions based in what you’ve heard and read in the media instead of reading Paterno’s testimony as a witness if the State against Sandusky thru the process and assumed conclusion if the Freeh report whose own author said was a springboard to further investigation and not intended to be the basis if NCAA action / punishment.

  12. sailbum7 says: May 30, 2013 8:51 AM

    I hope that the NCAA takes a big hit in this suit. The Freeh report was riddled with conjecture and assumptions that were not supported by facts. Freeh made statements about the behavior of people, most notably Paterno, that simply are not supported by any evidence. In fact, in some cases there was evidence that contradicted Freeh’s conclusions and conjecture. The claim that Paterno tried to cover for Sandusky is just wrong. In fact, there is clear evidence that Paterno wanted to ban Sandusky from Penn State facilities but was told he could not do that because of Sandusky’s emiritus status which had been granted by the board at the recommendation of Spanier, not Paterno. There are emails that show Paterno was pushing for more action to be taken against Sandusky, not less. About the only thing that you can say negative about Paterno is that he probably should have blown the whistle to outside law enforcement when his superiors failed to take adequate action against Sandusky. Even though this would have been a violation of Penn State policy, Paterno could have easily weathered any fall out from that. Freeh chose to believe the final story told by McQueary about what he said to Paterno and others rather than McQueary’s earlier description of the conversations which was probably far more accurate. This made several people look far worse because the later statements by McQueary claim he told them that he saw contact of a sexual nature whereas McQueary’s earlier description of the conversations indicated that he merely said he heard noises and saw some “horsing around.” In addition to this, it is very clear that the procedure followed by the NCAA for handing out penalties was not in keeping with long established NCAA guidelines and that there was no critical review conducted of the Freeh report. It is pretty clear that the NCAA put speed above accuracy and fairness. There was no critical review of the Freeh report conducted, the conclusions reached by Freeh in the report were simply accepted at face value even though there was insufficient evidence to support many of them and there was even contradictory evidence readily available to refute some of them. In all, this entire process was handled very poorly by the NCAA and there was little effort put into uncovering the truth prior to the handing out of penalties. I hope that the NCAA takes a hit for this as they clearly abused their authority and leveled several penalties that have no impact on the people involved but have major effect on those who had nothing to do with these events.

  13. rehmer2389 says: May 30, 2013 9:07 AM

    This lawsuit has nothing to do with Jerry Sandusky and the victims…this is about the NCAA and their lack of detail and investigation in penalizing the university of Penn State. They bowed down to the media’s wishes and made a quick decision. It just goes to show how much the NCAA has lost control

  14. cometkazie says: May 30, 2013 9:08 AM

    Interesting that now, a couple of years later, a 60/40 split has evolved.

    Not too long ago the pro-bad guys got a lot less support.

    Interesting but not very comforting.

    I guess people are tired of hearing about it.

  15. randomguy9999 says: May 30, 2013 10:06 AM

    Penn and their football program have Paterno to thank for what happened to them and no one else…. Paterno could have ejected Sandusky when the original issues came up, made sure there were real police investigations by simply picking up the phone, and he and Penn would have been exonerated for doing the right thing.

    Instead, he simply told his boss, strategized, and conspired to hide what was happening from the world…. and kids had their entire lives destroyed because of it….

    the Paternos have got some major gall pulling this suit after what he did.

  16. pastabelly says: May 30, 2013 10:14 AM

    This is a reach to buy Penn State some football scholarships or a year less probation. How do you really quantify an appropriate penalty for a school and a community so out of whack to create a breeding ground for child molestation? This is the biggest black eye

  17. ninerfan81 says: May 30, 2013 10:16 AM

    Everyone lost in this whole saga, everyone. There are no winners, no one will come out of this better except the lawyers. The only thing that can possibly come of this is that PSU has the opportunity to put procedures in place so that no child is harmed on that campus from this day onward. Thats the only positive thing that can result from all of this is that no other child is ever harmed again at PSU. You will see a decline in almost every other facet of life in the area, the victims will continue to suffer because Joe’s family will continue to dredge it up in their face and media outlets will continue report about it because it makes for good ratings and attention NOT because its helping anyone. Sports writers looking to get notoriety will comb thru every bit of minutia looking for the next scandal at PSU (see SI); the quality of the education will suffer, many students who wanted to attend PSU over the course of the next decade wont be able to attend due to loss of assistance, its a tragedy for everyone involved. I just hope people are doing their part in fighting child abuse in their respective areas, not fighting it through blog posts.

  18. pastabelly says: May 30, 2013 10:17 AM

    Cont. in college athletics in memory. Priorities are out of place. The Paternoster just don’t get it and never will.

  19. eloso1 says: May 30, 2013 10:21 AM

    Penn state in the news in annoying and never ending. There seems to be 3 camps out there. The ardent supporters, the passionate haters and then people that are open minded and sit somewhere in the middle. The story is disgusting and thankfully that monster is in jail. I think we all continue to follow and have opinions because a man most people held in high regard was mixed up in it and the story became sensationalized from there. Even I wanted him to burn initially. I’ve watched PSU football over the years and although they are not my team, it’s seems completely out of bounds the punishment they received from the NCAA for several reasons. 1)the NCAA is a trade organization with a mission to foster competition and fairness. 2) it’s makes 90% of its money off the NCAA tournament and has gradually and continues to lose power to football , the BCS and realignment–all which one day might render its relevance obsolete. With all the other botched scandals including the joke of academic integrity at UNC it needed this moment 3) it didn’t even do its own investigation and relied on a paid investigation by a man(Louis Freeh) who has made a living whoring himself out to corporate elites commissioned by Penn States Board of Trustees who are nothing but a bunch of corporate executives that stand everything to lose. 4) Didn’t the alleged victim that this whole shower incident ties in Penn States culpability come out and say nothing happened. And weren’t those specific charges the only ones the Sandman was found not guilty of??? 5) the former head of the FBI dick thornburg and its most prolific expert on child crimes Jim Clemente have both denounced Louis Freeh and the findings against Joe Paterno. What do they have to gain by saying ANything????

    I’m not here to change opinions but instead of relying on my initial reaction which was significantly influenced by the media, I’ve kept an open mind and formed my own opinion after actually reading through the Freeh Report, the Paterno report and information from the public record. If there is one thing I can say with certainty it’s that the Freeh Report is one of the most biased and flawed documents( Louis Freeh report on Wynn Casinos is equally shocking) I have ever read taken as fact and its sad that more journalists don’t question it’s conclusion for fear of retribution and career suicide. I applaud Bob Costas for having the courage to backtrack on his initial opinion and reevaluate facts and information where others do not. I look forward to this being over and getting the final pieces of the story once the trials of those 3 guys concludes so i can figure out for myself how i feel. Until then, keep an open mind people and stop allowing a bunch of journalists with a sensational story to write and an agenda to be carried out to obfuscate the facts and remember Jerry Sandusky is the pedophile.

  20. sailbum7 says: May 30, 2013 10:28 AM

    Actually @randomguy, if you bothered to do some research before spouting off you would know that Paterno wanted to ban Sandusky from Penn State facilities but was told he could not because of Sandusky’s emiritus status. This status was granted Sandusky by the board based on Spanier’s recommendation – Paterno had nothing to do with it. Paterno did what he was supposed to do and reported what McQueary told him to the athletic director (his boss) and the head of Penn State police. Unlike many colleges, Penn State police are not rent-a-cops, they are actual state police officers. To try and take it any further could have put Paterno in legal hot water since he did not witness anything and had no evidence. To make accusations without evidence can get you sued. Also, without evidence, going to outside police would not have gotten him very far beside being a violation of Penn State policy. Paterno probably could have still gone to outside police, but since there was no evidence and no one knew the name of the boy involved, it is doubtful that it would have gone anywhere. Unfortunately. this is how scum like Sandusky avoid getting caught or so long, it is hard to get the evidence to be able to take action. The one action Paterno wanted to take, which was to ban Sandusky from Penn State facilities, he was not allowed to do by Spanier and the board. People like you are quick to condemn Paterno but do not even have courtesy of taking the time to get the facts before running your mouth.

  21. mogogo1 says: May 30, 2013 10:34 AM

    On it’s face, this seems to be a longshot lawsuit where most if not all of the plaintiffs likely lack standing to file. If I work for a company and the company is wronged in some way, I typically wouldn’t be able to file suit as an individual, the company as an entity would need to do that. And with JoePa gone, most of his family has no legal connection to Penn State so they likely wouldn’t have standing even if JoePa himself would have.

  22. mountaineer50415 says: May 30, 2013 10:41 AM

    I usually delete these articles on the Paterno’s. This time without reading the article I thought I would ask that no more Paterno news be sent my way. I for one am sick of hearing about this family.
    They had nothing to say while the maniac was raping little boys, but now they want to go on and on and on.
    Please let me know about the football program but nothing about Sandusky or the Paterno’s. If more people felt the same way maybe they would get the message and SHUT UP.

  23. joebone says: May 30, 2013 10:45 AM

    Penn State hired Freeh and then agreed to the sanctions. Now some folks who lack standing in the matter are suing the NCAA? Good luck with that.

  24. ninerfan81 says: May 30, 2013 10:56 AM

    Working as a graduate assistant in one of the colleges at PSU, I personally sat there and watched the admissions officers deal with the squeeze in real time. We were already faced with tightening budgets but to have to send those letters to kids that qualify for academic schollies that they will get 2500 instead of 10k or 10k instead of full, or NONE instead of partial is pretty gut wrenching, because they are sitting there somewhere in Jersey, Central PA, Eastern PA and trying to figure out why they can’t attend a school they’ve wanted to attend since they were kids….we’re not talking about football schollies we’re talking kids who probably wanted to study music, or education, or pre-med. The fact that everyone blames blocking and tackling for this tragedy shows how misguided they are…one guy mentioned a “breeding ground” as to say folks at PSU were breeding child molesters up there. This thing has ripple affects FAR beyond the field, when you think about it, the football program will probably suffer the LEAST (8-4 record in what had to be the hardest year ever for a student athlete), the NCAA has no right to determine if a kid from Scranton can study Agricultural Science at PSU.

  25. packhawk04 says: May 30, 2013 11:15 AM

    Joe paterno was informed of what was happening and told his superiors. Then, he allowed the dude back on campus on a regular basis, and said nothing when the dude brought little boys with him, after knowing the allegations. And people are going to defend that?


  26. jcarne9014 says: May 30, 2013 11:28 AM

    “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” – Dante Alighieri

  27. ninerfan81 says: May 30, 2013 12:01 PM

    No one is this community is in neutral, come on over and see how this student body has rallied to the cause to help those hurt in this tragedy, we can sit here and list contradictory Dante quotes all day, until we’re blue in the face. It’s not helping anything.

    “The path to paradise begins in hell.”
    ― Dante Alighieri

    “Justice does not descend from its own pinnacle.”
    ― Dante Alighieri

  28. pastabelly says: May 30, 2013 2:38 PM

    My expression “breeding ground” was not about child molestation. It was about a breeding ground which enabled a corrupt environment at Penn State. If you are depending on football to fund academics, that explains why your system is out of whack. Tail wagging the dog at Penn State was your problem. Fix it by rebuilding it the right way. You have a head start with all of that Big 10 money.

  29. rponciano says: May 30, 2013 3:28 PM

    The NCAA and Mark Emmert have always ignored it’s own Rules and for quite some time, have acted in clear violation of it’s own rules. A change must start at the top to get true reform. Emmert was made aware of past infractions case that was fabricated, and had some flat out lies told by the field investigator. That field investigator, now is the MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ENFORCEMENT! Emmert and his enforcement staff have absolutletly no business being in their positions. “He who speaks with forked tongue is a fraud!”

  30. ninerfan81 says: May 30, 2013 3:38 PM

    Who’s breeding corruption? You’re insenuating that someone is deliberately teaching or encouraging corruption as a calculated measure. It’s my hope that those responsible for their crimes will ALL be brought to justice, the ones that were both revered at one time and those who hid behind the scenes. However, you’re in error to propagate a message that Penn State as a community, alumni, current students, guys who play a game, the old guy that owns the barbershop on the corner are somehow culpable or responsible for the abhorrent acts of a select few because they faithfully pack a stadium every Saturday. A “breeding ground” would be just that. Right, we’re holding seminars on how to be corrupt at PSU…just think about what you’re saying before you say it.
    You’re comment regarding football funding academics has to be some sort of a joke or mistake. Don’t you understand the impact ALL revenue generating collegiate athletics have on academics? I’m NOT saying sports revenues provide the majority of funding for academic programs at public universities, but they DO play a signifcant part, that model differs from school to school. To suggest PSU is the only profitable football program that supports academic endeavors would be woefully near sighted at best. To suggest that any revenues from football used to support academics is a bad thing is laughable. I don’t even know what tail wagging the dog means but I do know that PSU has won many more so called “national titles” in the area of academics and research than the football program will ever dream of. If in fact the revenues from the program are the life blood of academic excellence, who, even those who hate PSU now or before would cast that in a negative light? I’m not sure how you would. As far as “Rebuilding” the right way I’d task you to do some research in that regard before posting on a blog to further transmit an erroneous signal. Check it out for yourself. If football was the prevailing symbol at PSU I’d argue student led philanthropic endeavors were at worst 1b to its 1a.
    There is an issue in college athletics in the US PERIOD. No one pays advertising dollars to the Engineering Robotics Teams to compete against one another on Saturdays. Mainly because 99.9% of the viewers on television, media, etc dont care and you say the culture is shattered only at PSU. Because of the egregious acts PSU has made itself the poster child for all things bad in the world of college athletics and DESERVEDLY so but dont pretend you pick up the paper to read about what the engineering students at your school are doing from day to day.

  31. jackericsson says: May 30, 2013 4:04 PM

    I agree with the plaintiff. Do a more “meticulous review” and then give State Penn the Death Penalty.

  32. amosalanzostagg says: May 30, 2013 7:34 PM


    Baywatchboy is dead on.

    Penn State is a signatory school in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It is purely voluntary. They agreed to abide by what the NCAA Board has jurisdiction over, which is oversight of member institutions. Any action now is a moot point since the institution already signed off on an duly approved agreement.

    Just remember, discovery goes both ways and when these individuals bring up the Freeh Report, all the NCAA has to do is bring up Spanier,Curley and Schultz to testify and really open up the can of worms that Penn State doesn’t want open.

    The penalties are one quarter over, and Penn State has suffered enough. Does
    Penn State and their supporters really want this story come back into national
    news again, because all it would take is one email, one minute piece of conjecture to come out and Penn State has to go through all this crap……again.

    All this is about is ego. Paterno ego.

    If JoePa had made just ONE telephone call to the State Police, his record would be intact and still be respected instead of reviled.

  33. gtizzo says: May 30, 2013 8:20 PM

    It is really sick that the media even report this. They hate the NCAA but not because of the Penn State scandal, but because they see the NCAA as the road block to getting college football players paid. When the NCAA handed down the penalty against Penn State you had to look very deep to find out that wasn’t the purpose of the Freeh Report. Course maybe fans should let sleeping dogs lie, after all if Spanier (former Chair of the BCS oversight committee) wasn’t removed. We wouldn’t even have a 4 team playoff. Meanwhile the real evil in all this (Sandusky) sits in prison proclaiming he is innocent.

  34. badintent says: May 31, 2013 1:55 AM

    For those of you with your heads Still up the Paternos’ asses, hope Sandusy comes out on weekend parole and sticks his dick in you.He’s gonna get it in prison from some cons who don’t like child rapists What’s your excuse.??Pathetic football junkies.
    Good for the NCAA for Once to throw the book at a program run by vermin that would have run the SS and Gestapo in Nazi Germany.

  35. dkhhuey says: May 31, 2013 9:26 AM

    Joe Paterno knew Sandusky was ass raping children
    Joe Paterno did nothing about it
    Joe Paterno turned a blind eye to it and enabled more children to get molested and raped
    Joe Paterno deserves to have a completely destroyed legacy.

  36. rocketmanblastoff says: May 31, 2013 2:01 PM

    As Costas mentions and what people must understand, this entire episode is simply a summary and there is far more complexity to this issue. There are facts that support what these men are saying here.

    Read the Freeh Report. Study it. Reading the summary does not count. There are many highly credible people that have documented, in detail, the many flaws within this report.

    At the very least:
    Read the Clemente report. Watch his interviews.

    There are many others. Facts are surfacing…. and they’re inconsistent with the Narrative many of you have accepted as undeniable truth.

    It’s everyone’s duty in our society to hold a proper regard for evidence. Further, it is our duty as a community to learn from this tragedy by educating ourselves about child predators.

  37. onbucky96 says: May 31, 2013 6:34 PM

    Joe should have gone to the cops. Joe told his boss and never asked him about it. GUILTY.

  38. mackie66 says: Jun 1, 2013 1:37 PM

    I am amazed at the idiots who can actually, well, almost comprehend what they read.
    You think Joe Pa’s folks are suing Penn because they want Joe’s name drug through the mud,,,again?
    READ and comprehend the reports written and if you still fault Joe Paterno, then you are an idiot.

  39. dkhhuey says: Jun 1, 2013 9:48 PM

    mackie – defending Joe Paterno after he turned his back and allowed more kids to be raped and molested and you can classify yourself as something more pathetic than an idiot!

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