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New Complaint Filed in Paterno v. NCAA Lawsuit

by on October 13, 2014 6:33 PM

After having their first complaint against the NCAA rejected for lacking specific claims, Jay Paterno and other plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint against the NCAA on Monday.

Monday’s filing includes former assistant coaches Paterno and William Kenney, the Paterno Estate and former university trustee Al Clemens as plaintiffs. Penn State was added to the suit as a nominal defendant in February.

The basic claims remain the same, but the new complaint outlines the damages sought by each of the parties and clarifies the connection between the NCAA and the plaintiffs.

The complaint argues that the NCAA overstepped its bounds in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, causing financial and emotional harm to the various plaintiffs.

“The NCAA has no authority to investigate or impose sanctions on member institutions for criminal matters unrelated to recruiting or athletic competition at the collegiate level,” the complaint reads.

The consent decree that bound Penn State to the NCAA’s sanctions is also attacked. The complaint claims the document is “unlawful,” based on a “flawed” investigation and that the university signed it under “extreme duress.”

The complaint argues that the consent decree negatively impacted Clemen’s ability to work as a member of the board, and that it implied Paterno’s and Kenney’s involvement in an alleged cover up of Sandusky’s crimes.

“As early as November 2011, the NCAA accused certain Penn State personnel (including Plaintiffs) of being significantly involved in alleged violations of the NCAA’s rules,” the complaint reads.

Monday’s court filing also argues that the value of the Paterno estate was hurt by allegations of former head coach Joe Paterno’s involvement in an alleged cover up.

“Joe Paterno … suffered severe damage to his good name and reputation, resulting in irreparable and substantial pecuniary harm to the current and long-term value of his estate,” the document says.

Joe Paterno and the other parties in the suit were also allegedly denied their rights of appeal outlined in the NCAA’s bylaws. By being denied these procedures, the plaintiffs were unable to offset the alleged harm brought by the NCAA.

The complaint argues that Paterno and Kenney were both unable to find work comparable to their coaching positions at Penn State. Kenney was turned down for numerous positions, and many job interviews reportedly focused on claims made by the NCAA, according to the filing.

Paterno was unable to find work as either a head university coach or college football commentator with various media outlets, even though ESPN had previously expressed its interest, the complaint says.

For these alleged breeches of contract and defamatory remarks, the complaint asks the court to nullify the consent decree and order the NCAA to pay damages to the plaintiffs.

The NCAA had earlier filed a motion asking to have the lawsuit dismissed, which was denied. The NCAA has also argued that the lawsuit lacks legal standing because none of the plaintiffs can claim to have been impacted by the consent decree.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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