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New Information Revealed in Paterno Family Lawsuit Against NCAA

by on May 29, 2013 1:50 AM

We're learning more about the Paterno family's lawsuit against the NCAA. Details were announced late Wednesday night. The Paterno family and several supporters plan to sue the NCAA for breach of contract, civil conspiracy, defamation and commercial disparagement. Participants in the suit include former Penn State football players and coaches, and members of the Penn State faculty and the Board of Trustees.

Board members participating in the suit include Ryan McCombie, Anthony Lubrano, Al Clemens, Peter Khoury and Adam Taliaferro.

Penn State faculty members participating in the suit include Peter Bordi, Terry Engelder, Spencer Niles and John O'Donnell.

Former Penn State football coaches in the suit include William Kenney and Jay Paterno and the former Penn State football players involved are Anthony Adams, Gerald Cadogan, Shamar Finney, Justin Kurpeikis, Richard Gardner, Josh Gaines, Patrick Mauti, Anwar Phillips and Michael Robinson.

Penn State said Wednesday it has no involvement in the lawsuit, which could be filed as early as today.

On the NBC Sports program "Costas Tonight," which aired Wednesday, Bob Costas sat down with Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers, former Pennsylvania governor and Paterno family report contributor Dick Thornburgh and Paterno family spokesman Dan McGinn. The men rehashed their issues with former FBI Director Louis Freeh's report, which was released in July and was the NCAA's rationale for levying against Penn State unprecedented sanctions.

Related coverage: The Paterno Report Calls Freeh Report Fundamentally Flawed

NCAA President Mark Emmert declined a request to be on the show, so the interview lacked a "point/counterpoint" quality, Costas said. 

The lawsuit is being filed in Centre County Court. The Paterno family wants the sanctions overturned and wants to be granted compensation and damages from the NCAA for it's alleged "improper conduct and breach of contract," and reimbursement for legal costs. 

The Paterno family plans to donate any money won in court to charity, according to a news release. 

The 40-page lawsuit says the NCAA, by way of its president, Mark Emmert, and former chairman of the executive committee, Edward Ray, ignored the NCAA's own rules. Instead, the NCAA used the Freeh report to draft the consent decree that Penn State signed in July, accepting the sanctions.

"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, the Paterno family's attorney.

"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."

The men discussed details of the Freeh report, and the Paterno family advocates said Freeh was wrong in saying Joe Paterno would willfully cover up child sex abuse. 

Paterno was in no way negligent, McGinn said. Furthermore, the family's first concern is Jerry Sandusky's victims, what they have been through and their current well-being, McGinn said on behalf of Sue Paterno. 

Click HERE to read the full text of the Paterno family's news release announcing the lawsuit.

The Board of Trustees never voted whether to formally accept the sanctions.

Gov. Tom Corbett filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA in January also seeking a reversal of the sanctions. The NCAA has asked a Pennsylvania judge to dismiss that case, though the judge has yet to make a ruling. is keeping a close watch on the legal proceedings and will be posting updates as soon as new information becomes available.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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