Paterno family drops lawsuit vs. NCAA

Joe Paterno died in January 2012 after he was fired in November 2011. (AP)

The family of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno dropped its lawsuit vs. the NCAA on Friday.

The Paterno family filed suit vs. the NCAA in 2013 after the findings of the Freeh report were released. The NCAA issued a quick statement after the decision and made it very clear that the sanctioning body didn’t agree to a settlement of any kind with the family.

“The Paterno family characterized this case as a search for the truth,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “Its decision today, after years of investigation and discovery, to abandon its lawsuit rather than subject those facts to courtroom examination is telling. We believe that the powerful record developed during discovery overwhelmingly confirmed what the NCAA has believed all along: the NCAA acted reasonably in adopting the conclusions of an eight-month investigation by Louis Freeh.”

The findings of Louis Freeh’s report were released in the weeks after former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse in 2012. The 267-page report said former school president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and Paterno were “able to make decisions to avoid the consequences of bad publicity.”

“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” the report said. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

The Paterno family filed the suit believing the former coach was unfairly blamed for the cover-up at the university. Paterno reported an allegation of abuse from an assistant coach to his superiors but did not at any time go to police.

Spanier and Curley were sentenced to jail time on their convictions of child endangerment charges earlier in June. 

Part of the suit was thrown out in 2015 by a judge who reviewed the merits of the case. He tossed an allegation that Penn State was in breach of Paterno’s contract when he was fired in 2011. Paterno died in January 2012.

The NCAA doled out a four-year bowl ban, scholarship reductions, a $60 million fine and made the school vacate Paterno’s wins over a 14-year period in 2012. Paterno’s 111 vacated wins were restored in 2015, the same year the team’s bowl ban was halted and the scholarship reduction was stopped.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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