Franco Harris, Jay Paterno

Paterno family lawsuit against NCAA adds Penn State as defendant


Perhaps lost in the buzz surrounding signing day is the latest development in the lawsuit filed by the family of former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno against the NCAA. After making some changes to the original lawsuit, the Paterno family has added Penn State as a nominal defendant after the NCAA argued the university should be labeled as a defendant in the case. A nominal defendant is one that is included in a lawsuit due to a technicality in order to make an accurate ruling but has no responsibility or fault in the ruling.

According to a report by Penn State student newspaper The Daily Collegian, the changes to the lawsuit were made to appease the NCAA but the family is not seeking any damage or compensation from the school.

“To be clear, we do not seek any monetary damages from Penn State, nor do we ask that the court order Penn State to take any action.” attorney for the Paterno side, Wick Sollers said in a statement. “We ask only for a declaration that the plaintiffs have rights under the NCAA rules that were violated, and that the Consent Decree imposed by the NCAA is null and void.”

The Paterno family is seeking to overturn the sanctions levied by the NCAA against the football program in the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and publication of the Freeh Report. It is the Paterno family’s belief the university was pressure to sign off on a consent decree, which university president Rodney Erickson did in the summer of 2012. Because of the way the NCAA handled the Penn State case, the Paterno family claims a number of assistant coaches, including Jay Paterno, were victims of defamation and because of that have not been able to find a job coaching football since being let go by the university once Bill O’Brien was hired in January 2012.

One of the demands of the consent decree mandated Penn State would accept whatever punishment the NCAA handed down without challenging the decision. This is not typical of NCAA protocol that allows for a university to appeal a decision made by the NCAA. Penn State was issued a four-year postseason ban, significant reduction in available scholarships and a $60 million fine to be paid over the course of the sanction period. Current players and recruits were also given a free transfer by the NCAA. Since then the NCAA has cut back on the scholarship restrictions and is allowing Penn State to gradually work back up to 85 total scholarships.

Penn State was given back five scholarships for the Class of 2014, going from 15 to 20. The Nittany Lions will have a full 25 initial scholarships to offer in the Class of 2015.

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

Associated Press
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As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.