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NCAA makes case in court for dismissal of Paterno lawsuit

The NCAA argued today in the Court of Common Pleas for Centre County, Penn., that the lawsuit brought by the estate of former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno and others should be dismissed in its entirety.

As the NCAA explained in court, these plaintiffs represent a disgruntled minority that seek to make the NCAA the scapegoat for the acts and omissions of Penn State University officials and the university’s agent—Louis Freeh, former FBI director and federal judge.

“Penn State University, more than a year ago, took responsibility for the departure from NCAA core values by some of its senior leaders, has instituted strong corrective action, and has worked steadfastly with Senator Mitchell towards a goal of making Penn State athletics a model of institutional control and integrity,” said NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy.

“We continue to believe that the university’s decision to move forward positively was in the best interest of student athletes and the entire Penn State community. We think the refusal of some, as reflected in in this litigation, to respect that decision only undercuts that effort and prolongs the pain experienced by the entire university community."

The NCAA stressed the following points in court today:

  • Because the goal of the suit is to invalidate the Consent Decree between the NCAA and Penn State, the university is an essential party to the dispute, and the suit cannot proceed without Penn State’s presence.
  • The facts underlying the sanctions against Penn State are drawn from the report of Judge Freeh, who conducted an investigation on behalf of Penn State, which then accepted the Freeh Report as the basis for the sanctions.
  • The Consent Decree does not impose any sanctions on Coach Paterno or any other individual.
  • None of the other plaintiffs (trustees, faculty, former coaches and players) has any connection at all to the Consent Decree and no right to challenge it.