Lubrano, Sollers Speak After Hearing on Paterno Family Lawsuit Against NCAA
The NCAA got its day in court Tuesday, telling a judge why the Paterno lawsuit should be dismissed, but outside court, supporters of the lawsuit had a lot to say.
Penn State Board of Trustee member Anthony Lubrano says that while the NCAA's defense attorneys came well prepared, he's happy that his side finally got to argue its case. The lawsuit asks to have the NCAA sanctions imposed on Penn State reversed.
One of the main points of contention Tuesday was whether the NCAA breached its contract with Penn State when it slapped sanctions on the university. The NCAA is arguing that the Paterno estate cannot sue for breach of contract because Joe Paterno isn't an involved individual in the case.
The NCAA says being an involved individual in the case does not simply mean you are mentioned. To be an involved individual, according to the NCAA, means you are someone who is specifically sanctioned.
For Lubrano, it was interesting to hear that. Lubrano says that the Paterno's are very ingrained within the Penn State community, while they may not be known outside of Happy Valley as well.
The NCAA also argues that the sanctions it imposed are beneficial in some ways to Penn State. The sports governing body says that by accepting to consent decree, the NCAA took off the table the possibility of a death penalty of the football program.
Lubrano doesn't see that way.
"They had some hollow arguments," Lubrano says. "At times they didn't have any other ground to walk on."
One of the sanctions the NCAA imposed on Penn State was the vacating of 111 wins under former head coach Joe Paterno, who was heavily implicated in the Louis Freeh Report. Louis Freeh was hired in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal to investigate if Penn State administrators did anything to cover up the initial sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.
"We'll see with the wins," Lubrano says. "It's one of the sanctions we want overturned. I think the Penn State community certainly wants [the wins] restored."
The sanctions also include a loss of football scholarships, and a ban on postseason play. The NCAA imposed the sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case.
The Paterno family argues that the NCAA breached its contract with Penn State because the organization did not conduct it's own investigation, relying instead, on Louis Freeh's report as a basis for the sanctions.
The Board of Trustees has not met to actually discuss the Freeh Report, a fact that makes Lubrano uncomfortable.
"I'm disappointed that as a board we haven't had a full discussion in full view of the public on the Freeh Report," Lubrano says.
Lubrano also says that there is a legal defense fund that has been established to help pay for the defense's legal services. Lubrano also says he has contributed to the legal fund.
Wick Sollers, attorney for the Paterno family, also spoke briefly Tuesday. Sollers hopes the suit will not be dismissed by the Judge John Leete.
"We are optimistic the case will proceed and that we will get discovery and that we can get into what happened behind the scenes with the consent decree," Sollers says. "It was a long time coming to get into court."
No ruling was made Tuesday, and there was no indication as to when one would be made.
Other people listed on the lawsuit were also in attendance, including Scott Paterno, as well as some other Board of Trustees members.