BELLEFONTE, Pa. - The NCAA is facing another attack in court after several former Penn State players joined the family of the late coach Joe Paterno in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the landmark sanctions against the school for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Centre County sought to show that the NCAA and its top leadership overstepped the organization's own rules in levying the four-year bowl ban, steep scholarship cuts and other penalties against the football program.
Paterno family representatives also hope the case will raise new questions about the university's internal investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, along with how and why the NCAA used Freeh's report as a basis for its sanctions in July.
Several trustees and faculty members also are part of the suit.
Here are some highlights from the introduction, which states in general why the suit has been filed. You can read the full filing by clicking the link below.
In particular, this lawsuit seeks to remedy the harms caused by their unprecedented imposition of sanctions on Pennsylvania State University (“Penn State”) for conduct that did not violate the NCAA’s rules and was unrelated to any athletics issue the NCAA could permissibly regulate. As part of their unlawful conduct, and as alleged in more detail below, Defendants breached their contractual obligations and violated their duties of good faith and fair dealing, intentionally and tortiously interfered with Plaintiffs’ contractual relations, and defamed and commercially disparaged Plaintiffs.
Among other things, Defendants circumvented the procedures required by the NCAA’s rules and violated and conspired with others to violate Plaintiffs’ rights, causing Plaintiffs significant harm. Defendants took these actions based on conclusions reached in a flawed, unsubstantiated, and controversial report that Defendants knew or should have known was not the result of a thorough, reliable investigation; had been prepared without complying with the NCAA’s investigative rules and procedures; reached conclusions that were false, misleading, or otherwise unworthy of credence; and reflected an improper “rush to judgment” based on unsound speculation and innuendo. Defendants also knew or should have known that by embracing the flawed report, they would effectively terminate the search for truth and cause Plaintiffs grave harm. Nonetheless, Defendants took their unauthorized and unlawful actions in an effort to deflect attention away from the NCAA’s institutional failures and to expand the scope of their own authority by exerting control over matters unrelated to recruiting and athletic competition.