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NCAA Files to Dismiss Paterno Lawsuit

In the seemingly never ending game of legal chess, the NCAA responded to the Paterno family lawsuit within the 20 day deadline, asking the judge to dismiss the case. The highly publicized lawsuit lists 21 parties including university trustees and former football players.

It was purely procedural, but there are some interesting takeaways none the less.

Two sentences stick out to me in the NCAA’s fifth objection: “Penn State entered into the Consent Decree for valuable consideration. In exchange for consenting to the NCAA’s sanctions, Penn State avoided a protracted investigation, achieved an expedited resolution of the enforcement process, and avoided the imposition of the death penalty.”

While Mark Emmet’s media talking points usually make Penn State seem more willing to sign away millions of dollars and four years of scholarships, this is the first official acknowledgement that the death penalty was in fact on the table when Rodney Erickson agreed to sign the consent decree. The NCAA has proven to have some inarticulate lawyers, so take that statement for what it’s worth.

The rest of the response stuck to the script, as the NCAA lawyers argued that not even Joe Paterno himself would have standing for such a suit. The response argues that the vacated wins were against the institution, “not…against individual members or coaches.”

The documents said that the NCAA finds it “bizarre” that the plaintiffs were suing them and not Penn State.

“Universities must be free to manage their own affairs, including their membership in the NCAA, without interference by disappointed or disgruntled individuals,” the NCAA’s chief legal officer, Donald Remy said in a statement.

Above all, the NCAA argued that the 21 individuals party to the lawsuit do not have standing to sue.

“Strong feelings do not create legal causes of action, and no court has ever recognized the type of actions plaintiffs seek to bring here in the context of NCAA sanctions,” the lawsuit reads.

You can read the preliminary objections below:

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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