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Newest Trustees Announce Support for Paterno Family Lawsuit

by on July 23, 2013 3:45 PM

The three newest members of the Penn State Board of Trustees are now publicly backing five of their fellow board members and the 15 other plaintiffs who are suing the NCAA. 

Ted Brown, Bill Oldsey and Barbara Doran released a statement Tuesday saying they "want to make it clear" that they fully support the Paterno family-led lawsuit that is seeking to abolish the consent decree signed by Penn State, the Big Ten and the NCAA. The consent decree paved the way for the NCAA to impose harsh sanctions against Penn State.

Plaintiffs who joined the Paterno family in the suit include former Penn State football players and coaches, Penn State faculty and a student and five trustees: Adam Taliaferro, Anthony Lubrano, Peter Khoury, Al Clemens and Ryan McCombie. 

One year ago today, Penn State received its penalties from the NCAA in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. They include a four-year postseason bowl ban, a significant loss of scholarships for the football team, a $60 million fine and all wins vacated under former football coach Joe Paterno between 1998-2011. 

In their statement, the new trustees say they support the plaintiffs' claim that the NCAA broke its own rules in issuing the sanctions and believe Penn State was denied due process when Penn State President Rodney Erickson signed the consent decree. 

Brown, Oldsey and Doran call the former FBI Director Louis Freeh's report "seriously flawed and incomplete," and call for a thorough review of the 263-page report on Penn State's alleged lack of institutional control that the NCAA used to issue the sanctions. They point out that the board never formally accepted or rejected the Freeh report.

"In our view, this matter calls for openness, thoroughness and transparency. The greater Penn State community has been calling for this action, and they deserve no less.

"There are those who suggest that we should move on and accept the NCAA sanctions as imposed, and we respect their views and commitment to Penn State. But to do that would not be in the long-term interest of this great University and the broader Penn State community. We firmly believe that truth and justice should never fear an open hearing and review – whether in the courts or before the Board of Trustees," say Brown, Oldsey and Doran in their statement. 

The full board has not commented on the fact that five trustees are listed as plaintiffs. Penn State says it has no affiliation with the lawsuit. 

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