The Penn State student trustee who was a plaintiff when the Paterno family sued the NCAA has been allowed to withdraw from the lawsuit, a judge said Friday.
Peter Khoury asked to remove himself from the lawsuit, which includes the Paterno family, Penn State trustees, professors and former Nittany Lion players and coaches. Khoury said the board of trustees gave him an ultimatum, forcing him to choose between withdrawing from the lawsuit or being removed from the search committee working to select the next university president.
Penn State officials have said Khoury’s role as a plaintiff would have created a conflict of interest while he participated in the search process. The university has also said the trustees’ participation in the lawsuit conflicts with their fiduciary duties.
The Paterno family’s lawsuit aims to wipe out the sanctions the NCAA imposed on Penn State, arguing that the organization circumvented its own rulebook when it punished the university for what former FBI director Louis Freeh said was four university administrators covering up child abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky.
The lawsuit also makes claims of defamation and commercial injury to the plaintiffs, but the NCAA has strongly denied the allegations and is asking that the case be dismissed.
The lawyers for the Paterno family, its supporters and the NCAA will be in court next week to make oral arguments on whether the lawsuit should be dismissed. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Centre County Courthouse, with out-of-county Judge John B. Leete presiding.
The NCAA already has eased up on the scholarship reductions that were part of the sanctions. The NCAA took the recommendation from former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who praised the university’s work to make security, compliance, governance and ethical reforms in the aftermath of the Sandusky scandal.
The trustees who will remain as plaintiffs are Anthony Lubrano, Ryan McCombie, Alvin Clemens and Adam Taliaferro.
The university is not a party in the lawsuit.