Paterno’s son, Jay Paterno, and Bill Kenney were two former Paterno assistants taking part in the action against the NCAA, the statement said. Also joining in the suit were five trustees, including vocal critic Anthony Lubrano and former player Adam Taliaferro; four faculty members; and other nine ex-Penn State players, including Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, according to the statement.
Dick Thornburgh, a former U.S. attorney general and Pennsylvania governor, also was interviewed by Costas. Thornburgh was one of the authors of a critique released in February and commissioned by the Paterno family that called Freeh’s work a “rush to injustice.”
Freeh accused Paterno and three former university officials of covering up allegations against Sandusky, who was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison after being convicted last year of dozens of criminal counts of abuse including assaults on and off campus.
Paterno died in January 2012. His family and the former school officials have vehemently denied they took part in a cover-up.
Sollers said the NCAA bypassed its typical lengthy investigative process and relied on Freeh’s report, then bullied Penn State behind the scenes into agreeing to the sanctions.
The university board as a whole entity has never formally discussed, nor has it voted on Freeh’s report, though its members have embraced many of Freeh’s recommendations to improve university governance and procedures.
The penalties against Penn State included a $60 million fine. The NCAA also vacated 111 wins from Paterno’s record, meaning he would no longer hold the title of major college football’s winningest coach.
The lawsuit lodges six counts against the NCAA, Emmert and Ray, including breach of contract, civil conspiracy, defamation and commercial disparagement, according to Sollers’ statement.
Sollers has said the suit would ask for the sanctions and agreement between school and the NCAA to be deemed unlawful and the penalties overturned.
The lawsuit also would ask for unspecified damages and court costs, Sollers said, though the family would donate any net proceeds to charity.
“The broader goal is to get the truth out,” Sollers told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. “This narrative that’s in public that was perpetuated by the NCAA’s adoption of the deeply flawed Freeh report … cannot stand.”
The family planned to post the complaint on www.paterno.com after it was filed.