Paterno family appeals NCAA for “open hearing” to Penn State sanctions
The former Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno’s name has repeatedly come up in both the Freeh report and the NCAA’s sanctions on Penn State, and is at center of a cover-up to Jerry Sandusky’s on-campus criminal activity. Thus, the Paterno family has argued that in relevance to the NCAA’s by laws an “involved individual” in the case can file an appeal for a hearing on the Penn State sanctions; and that is the main subject behind a letter headed by the Paterno family lawyers towards the NCAA.
The NCAA is in a way bound to entertain the appeal for a hearing, otherwise the Paterno family can adopt a harsher tone by bringing the NCAA to court upon refusal of the appeal.
The Paterno family lawyers have asked for an “open hearing” on the, headed by its Infractions Appeal Committee, which was overlooked during the process of allotting unprecedented penalties to the Penn State.
"This matter may be the most important disciplinary action in the history of the NCAA, and it has been handled in a fundamentally inappropriate and unprecedented manner," attorney Wick Sollers, voiced in the Paterno family’s concerns in the letter addressed to the NCAA's Infractions Appeal Committee. "To severely punish a University and its community and to condemn a great educator, philanthropist and coach without any public review or hearing is unfair on its face and a violation of NCAA guidelines."
The NCAA imposed sanctions on the Penn State with a lasting negative impact with a four-year ban on the Bowl, a hefty $60 million fine, rescinding 111 victories of Joe Paterno with the Nittnay Lions during the 1998 to 2011 period, a five-year probation on Penn State, and loss of several scholarships.
The letter states that the appeal an open hearing will encourage a due process to rectify the “enormous damage done to Penn State, the State College community, former and current students and student-athletes, Joe Paterno and certain others involved, as a result of the unprecedented actions taken by the NCAA."
Wick Sollers that the NCAA sanctions are illegal considering it vetoed the the Infractions Committee’s procedures to give precedence to the Freeh report’s findings. Wick Sollers argued I the letter that an “impartial review” will assist in detecting “culpability” in the Frehe report, which he described as “incomplete, rife with unsupported opinions and unquestionably one-sided.”
"The NCAA and Penn State's leadership, by accepting and adopting the conclusions of the Freeh report, have maligned all of the above without soliciting contrary opinions or challenging a single finding of the Freeh report. Given the extraordinary penalty handed out, prudence and justice require that scrupulous adherence to due process be observed and not completely ignored."