Family of Penn’s Joe Paterno to join lawsuit against NCAA: attorney

Joe Paterno Credit: Getty Images
Joe Paterno, who died in January 2012, was accused of covering up sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky.
Credit: Getty Images

The family of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno would be among a group of plaintiffs filing a lawsuit against the U.S. college sports association Thursday over its reaction to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, a lawyer for the Paternos said.

Speaking on “Costas Tonight” on NBC Sports Network, Wick Sollers said the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) used “coercion and behind-the-scenes threats” to force Penn to pay severe penalties for its handling of the sex abuse scandal.

The NCAA threatened the school with the so-called “Death Penalty,” the complete elimination of the football program for one season, to force school officials into accepting the fines, Sollers said on Wednesday’s program.

The penalties imposed in July 2012 included a $60 million fine and a four-year loss of post-season eligibility, based on an independent investigation by former FBI Director Louis Freeh into how Penn handled reports of abuse by Sandusky, an assistant football coach.

Freeh found Paterno, who died in January 2012, along with other university officials, covered up Sandusky’s sexual abuse for years and showed a callous disregard for the victims to protect a multimillion-dollar football program.

Sue Paterno, the coach’s widow, has said her husband had never hindered investigators looking into Sandusky’s behavior.

Sandusky is in prison serving a sentence of 30 to 60 years for the sexual abuse of 10 boys in a 15-year period. Some of the abuse occurred in the Penn State locker room.

Until Sandusky’s arrest in 2011, Paterno was one of the most revered figures in American sports due in large part to his ranking as the winningest coach in major college football.

The suit is expected to be filed in Centre County, Penn. Former Penn State football stars Michael Robinson, Patrick Mauti and Justin Kurpeikis are expected to be among the plaintiffs, Paterno family representatives said in a statement released late Wednesday.

Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.

Penn State officials said the school is not directly involved in any lawsuit against the NCAA that the Paterno family may join.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.