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Paternos Continue To Fight For JoePa Legacy

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Joe Paterno and his statue are gone, but his family is trying to restore their patriarch's image by filing a lawsuit against the NCAA. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
Joe Paterno and his statue are gone, but his family is trying to restore their patriarch's image by filing a lawsuit against the NCAA. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

While Joe Paterno’s family recently filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for allegedly overstepping its boundaries in its sanctions against Penn State’s football program, a federal judge tossed out Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA.

U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane called Corbett’s case “a Hail Mary pass” and dismissed it.

However, Kane conceded that such a case against the NCAA could be successful if it weren’t an antitrust lawsuit.

That gives the Paterno family, along with five members of Penn State’s Board of Trustees and a number of former players who joined the lawsuit, some hope.

“The lawsuit filed by Governor Corbett and the Paterno family and various affected parties are separate exercises with significantly different claims and legal theories,” said Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers in a statement.

The NCAA said that it was satisfied with the court’s ruling.

However, attorneys for the Paterno family are calling on the NCAA to release all communications related to the sanctions in hopes of “truth and transparency.”

The sanctions that Corbett, who was joined by the university, and the Paternos, who are not joined by the university, are trying to overturn are extensive.

The NCAA vacated Joe Paterno’s last 111 wins over a 14-year period, fined the university $60 million, reduced scholarships and banned the program from bowl games for four years.

The Paterno family’s lawsuit aims to overturn the NCAA’s sanctions and seeks money for damage and legal costs, which the family said would go to charities.

Charges in the Paterno family lawsuit against the NCAA include breach of contract, civil conspiracy and defamation.

The Paterno family’s 40-page lawsuit was summed in a statement made last week.

“The report on which the NCAA relied on its actions is fundamentally wrong, incomplete and inaccurate,” the statement read.

It references the Freeh Report, which concluded that several individuals, including the late Paterno, concealed Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of minors.

The Freeh Report concluded that a cover-up “empowered” Sandusky, Paterno’s former defensive coordinator.

It's the second time this year that the Paterno family has taken some form of action against the Freeh Report, this time indirectly. The family previously released a report in February that condemned the Freeh Report for rushing to judgment against Paterno.

The Paterno family commissioned report said that Freeh’s conclusions regarding Paterno are “contradicted or unsubstantiated by the evidence.”