The long-running legal battle between the family of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno and the NCAA appears to be over.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the association confirmed that the estate of Paterno, his son Jay Paterno, and former Nittany Lions assistant Bill Kenney had voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the NCAA. In an unusually pointed remark, the NCAA noted that they “did not settle the case and provided plaintiffs with no consideration—financial or otherwise.”
“The Paterno family characterized this case as a ‘search for the truth,’” Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, remarked in the statement. “Its decision today, after years of investigation and discovery, to abandon its lawsuit rather than subject those facts to courtroom examination is telling. We believe that the powerful record developed during discovery overwhelmingly confirmed what the NCAA has believed all along: the NCAA acted reasonably in adopting the conclusions of an eight-month investigation by Louis Freeh.”
The lawsuit against the NCAA has been working its way through the courts for years ever since Penn State dismissed Paterno and his coaching staff following the Jerry Sandusky scandal and resulting punishment from the NCAA board. Remy noted in the release that the association was set to file a summary judgement brief on Friday before the lawsuit was ultimately dropped just hours before. While that no doubt played a key role in the decision to let the quest go for the Paternos, increasing reports that Paterno knew of sexual abuse committed by Sandusky and the election of Jay Paterno to the Penn State board of trustees also could have played a role.
While it would appear that the lawsuit being withdrawn would end yet another chapter in this sordid affair, history has shown this is probably not the last tiff we’ve seen between the NCAA and the Paterno family.