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Trustee McCombie Still Pursuing NCAA Appeal, Attorney Says

by on August 14, 2012 6:44 AM

Penn State trustee Ryan McCombie has not withdrawn his appeal of the NCAA sanctions and has no plans to do so, counsel Paul Kelly confirmed Monday.

Kelly, a Boston-based attorney with the firm Jackson Lewis LLP, released the following statement immediately after the Board of Trustees' teleconference wrapped up Sunday evening around 7 p.m.

"If you were listening to the Board of Trustees call this evening, I want to clarify that Mr. McCombie has agreed to temporarily suspend prosecution of the recently filed NCAA appeal to allow the Board proceedings recommended by Mr. (Joel) Myers to occur in a full and deliberate manner. He has not agreed to a withdrawal of the appeal.

"While Trustee McCombie fully supports President Erickson and his commitment to protecting the current and future interests of Penn State University, he still intends to challenge the unfair, unwarranted and unlawful actions of the NCAA and the excessive sanctions imposed."

Kelly, who has been a trial lawyer for more than 30 years and is a member of his firm's Collegiate and Professional Sports Industry Group, also represents the eight former Penn State football players and a former assistant coach who filed an appeal of the NCAA sanctions last week, seeking retribution for the 111 vacated wins, among other alleged wrongdoing.

Currently, there is no timetable regarding court dates, as the appellants wait for the NCAA to act, Kelly said, which could take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks.

There are essentially three options, which Kelly outlined: 1. The NCAA can respond to the party who filed the notice and set up a timetable for the next steps of action. 2. The NCAA can respond and say the party has no argument and further action will not be taken, or 3. The NCAA can ignore the party's appeal entirely.

Kelly said typically the NCAA will respond.

"The ball is squarely in their court," Kelly said. "What's interesting is there isn't any precedent for what's occurred here."

In major infraction cases, there is usually an investigation carried out by the NCAA followed by a hearing, held in Indiana, where the NCAA is headquartered, Kelly said.

"In this particular case, the NCAA failed to follow its own constitution and bylaws. They've created a new set of procedures no one's ever seen before," Kelly said. "No one knows how to respond."

The Paterno family was the first to file an appeal with the NCAA on Aug. 3, citing their desire to overturn the "enormous damage" done to Penn State and the community.

On Sunday, the Board of Trustees met via teleconference. While they made no motions and did not take a vote, Chairwoman Karen Peetz gave each trustee the opportunity to speak. All expressed their support for Penn State President Rodeny Erickson, who signed the NCAA's binding consent decree on July 23.

However, trustee Lubrano said he did not agree with the NCAA sanctions.

Sanctions dealt to Penn State include a $60 million fine, which will go toward a fund administered by Penn State that will go toward abuse victims, a significant loss of scholarships, a four-year bowl ban and all wins between 1998-2011 being vacated. 

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