Judge Makes No Ruling in Paterno vs. NCAA Hearing

By Mallory Lane

Published 10/29 2013 07:33PM

Updated 10/29 2013 08:11PM

BELLEFONTE, CENTRE COUNTY - An out-of-county judge has a big decision to make. To move the Paterno vs. NCAA case forward, or not.

The Paterno family filed the lawsuit against the NCAA in May over the sanctions handed down to Penn State.

The NCAA is challenging the Paterno family lawsuit and Tuesday was their chance to get the case dismissed. The Paterno family estate, and others, say the sanctions handed down by the NCAA should be reversed and want to see this case move to trial.

It was a long day in court Tuesday as Potter County Senior Judge John Leete heard arguments on both sides of the Paterno vs. NCAA hearing.

"All of those are very complicated legal issues," Penn State Board of Trustee member and Paterno lawsuit plaintiff, Anthony Lubrano, said. "This is not one of those sexy cases where somebody walks out of the courthouse and there's a verdict."

Three main points were argued in court. Whether or not the NCAA acted within their jurisdiction in handing down the sanctions to Penn State, whether the reputations of the Paterno family, former Penn State football players and coaches and trustees have been damaged and, perhaps most importantly, does Penn State have to be a plaintiff to move the case forward?

NCAA attorneys argue they do, but Penn State is trying to steer clear of the case.

Attorneys for the Paterno family say the NCAA changed the rules as they went along, something the NCAA doesn't dispute. The athletics organization maintains they did what was necessary after the Sandusky scandal and say things could have been much worse.

"There were some hollow arguments made by the NCAA today," Lubrano said. "I don't think they had any other ground to walk."

The judge asked a lot of questions of attorneys during the hearing, something Lubrano calls a good sign.

"That's about all a plaintiff or defendant could ask for," he said. "I may not agree with the opinion, but it's going to be a thoughtful opinion. We are optimistic."

Attorneys for the NCAA had no comment after the hearing. Paterno attorney Wick Sollers is confident with their arguments.

"We are very optimistic that this case will go forward, that we will be able to get discovery as to what was really going on behind the scenes of the consent decree and of the NCAA's actions," Sollers said. "And that we'll have a full hearing in court down the road."

The judge made no ruling Tuesday, but says he will review each parties briefs and issue a written decision.

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