PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Penn State Named as Defendant in Paterno Lawsuit

Joe Paterno’s family is suing Penn State — talk about things I never thought I would say in my lifetime.

Or, perhaps more accurately, Penn State is now unwillingly part of the lawsuit brought against the NCAA by Paterno’s family, four Penn State trustees, former coaches, and lettermen. The university was named as a nominal defendant in an amended complaint filed yesterday as part of Judge John Leete’s ruling that said the group couldn’t sue the NCAA to mitigate the sanctions without Penn State’s involvement. The plaintiffs are not going after Penn State for any damages, but felt that its addition was necessary to gain additional standing in the lawsuit that was ruled to move forward last month.

“The amended complaint adds Penn State as a nominal defendant on the contract claim only. To be clear, we do not seek any monetary damages from Penn State, nor do we ask that the court order Penn State to take any action,” Paterno attorney Wick Sollers said in a statement. “We ask only for a declaration that the plaintiffs have rights under the NCAA rules that were violated, and that the consent decree imposed by the NCAA is null and void.”

Of course, Penn State has stayed out of this lawsuit until now and is not pleased to have to deal with this development. It is especially unique because, essentially, four of university trustees — Ryan McCombie, Anthony Lubrano, Al Clemens, and Adam Taliaferro — are suing the school of which they are still a trustee for. All have been urged to drop off of the lawsuit by board leadership, although all but Pete Khoury, who previously asked to be dropped from the lawsuit, have remained steadfast.

“Penn State is deeply disappointed that the Paterno family, four individual trustees and others have added Penn State as a party in their lawsuit against the NCAA,” Penn State said in a statement through spokesman David LaTorre. “Penn State will do its best to mitigate the expense, disruption to its operations and harm to its mission and interests… caused by the forced and unwilling inclusion of the University as a defendant in a dispute between private parties.”

The NCAA is equally unamused, and released a statement through its chief legal officer Donald Remy that said the plaintiffs’ decision is “yet another step backwards” against the university.

“It should be clear what the plaintiffs have just done,” he said. “They have sued the very school they say they want to protect, asking for relief that Penn State itself has not sought.”

It’s important to emphasize that the Paterno group is not going after Penn State; it is merely forcing the university to participate in this legal game in order to gain more standing against the NCAA. In Penn State’s mind, they are merely collateral damage to the Paterno’s mission of seeking damages and restitution from the NCAA.

The second major part of the updated complaint outlined the supposed difficulty former coaches Bill Kenney and Jay Paterno have had finding new jobs as a result of the sanctions. Paterno, who is currently unemployed, says he was denied interviews with schools Boston College, UConn, Colorado, and James Madison as a result of a tarnished reputation from the sanctions. The suit also claims that Paterno asked about a job with a Division 1 school in the Mid-Atlantic, but the school’s administration told him that Penn State coaches were “too toxic.”

Kenney, currently a coach at Western Michigan, also says he couldn’t get interviews for other, more prestigious jobs as a result of the consent decree.

The NCAA will now have a chance to file another round of preliminary objections before the judge rules again and the case proceeds. You can read the lengthy filing 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]


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