PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Judge Rules Parts of Paterno-NCAA Lawsuit Have Standing

The family of Joe Paterno had a partial victory today as Judge John Leete, ruling over its lawsuit against the NCAA, permitted parts of it to move forward. The family, along with various former coaches, trustees, and players, brought forth a lawsuit challenging various aspects of the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State and their effects on the community.

The judge ruled that the plaintiffs couldn’t pursue breach-of-contract claims over the NCAA because of Penn State’s binding agreement with the NCAA. Penn State has shown it wants nothing to do with this lawsuit and is not a party, and the judge ruled that the Paterno group is not an indispensable party to the claim. This means that any hope of invalidating the consent decree is probably out the window.

However, the judge ruled the defamation, conspiracy, commercial disparagement tort claims can move forward. The Paterno group claims that the Freeh report, and in turn, the NCAA, made libelous remarks against the Board of Trustees and former Penn State assistant coaches.

For example, the consent decree said that “some coaches administrators, and football program staff members ignored the red flags of Sandusky’s behaviors and no one warned the public about him.” The judge ruled that this was a restricted enough group to move forward with the defamation complaint. As college football coaches are public figures, the plaintiffs will need to prove malice on the part of the NCAA.

The commercial disparagement claim as also ruled to have standing — for both the Paterno estate and former coaches — based on the Freeh report and consent decree’s various malicious statements against Paterno, such as “Paterno concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community, and authorities.” These potentially false statements have damaged the value of Paterno’s estate, and so that claim will move forward as well.

Ultimately, any standing the Paterno group has should be seen as a victory. The NCAA has not had to answer for its extortion over Penn State to get President Rodney Erickson to sign the consent decree in any public way. If the NCAA is eventually forced to turn over evidence, things could get interesting. The Paterno side has 30 days to file an amended complaint.

“The ruling by Judge Leete today allowing the critical claims in our lawsuit against the NCAA to move forward is a significant victory,” said Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers. “We are gratified by the Judge’s decision confirming that key defamation, commercial disparagement and civil conspiracy claims can proceed. This is a case that deserves transparency and due process. It is a case that can never be resolved until the full truth is known. With this ruling the bright light of legal discovery will finally shine on the facts and records of all parties involved.”

By the way, the Paterno brothers are deservedly happy:




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]


State College Links
More by Kevin

Hometown Brewery Releases Beer Honoring Evan Pugh

Penn State’s first president Evan Pugh was born in 1828 at Jordan Bank Farm, three miles south of the city center of Oxford, Pennsylvania, an hour west of Philadelphia in Chester County. One-hundred eighty-nine years later, an Oxford brewery is honoring one of the preeminent champions of “liberal and practical” higher education in the form of a delicious Porter.

Penn State Basketball Downs Colgate 72-59 In Front of Thanksgiving Eve Crowd

Why Honoring Paterno Still Matters


Big Ten Announces 2018-2019 In-Conference Hoops Matchups

The 2018-2019 season will feature a 20-game in conference schedule for the first time.

From Manager To Walk On: Penn State Softball’s Ashton Mensinger Enjoying Unexpected Opportunity

Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Loses To Maryland 13-8

Penn State Men’s Lacrosse’s Ryan Keenan Selected In MLL Draft

Penn State Baseball Snaps Eleven-Game Losing Streak Against Mount St. Mary’s

Student Life

Miniature Penn State Tailgate Bus Up For Sale, Tailgate Never Has To End

The bus was purchased at a church and designed to carry 22 children. Now it carries about 30 cases of beer.

Creamery ‘Brew And White’ Iced Coffee Now Available

Be A Part Of The 2018 Senior Class Photo Inside Beaver Stadium

Saquon Barkley Shows Some Skin On SI Cover

The NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 26, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Barkley is expected to be a top-five pick, and he and his most vehement supporters say there’s no reason he won’t go No. 1 overall.

Blue-White 2018 Prop Bets

Step right up and place some bets, folks!

Dry Weather Expected For Blue-White Weekend

Predicted temperatures in the mid-50s and mostly cloudy skies should make for a pleasant (but more importantly, dry) Blue-White Weekend.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Miniature Penn State Tailgate Bus Up For Sale, Tailgate Never Has To End

The bus was purchased at a church and designed to carry 22 children. Now it carries about 30 cases of beer.

Send this to a friend