Penn State

Organizer: Heisman Trophy winner Cappelletti among 200 more former Penn State athletes offering support for lawsuit against NCAA

Some prominent former Penn State athletes have added their support to a lawsuit against the NCAA and the sanctions related to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, alumni organizer Brian Masella said Thursday.

Masella said 200 former Penn State athletes have joined the effort since the lawsuit was filed May 30, bringing to about 500 the number of supporters.

The NCAA lawsuit carried the names of several Penn State trustees and faculty and was led by the family of the late Joe Paterno. The suit challenged the NCAA’s authority to impose severe sanctions against Penn State last summer after former assistant coach Sandusky’s conviction on child sex abuse charges.

John Cappelletti, the 1973 Heisman Trophy winner, is among those joining the cause, Masella said. Others include standouts Ed O’Neil, Charlie Getty, D.J. Dozier, Ki-Jana Carter and Michael Mauti.

“Since the initial announcement, our list of supporters continues to grow,” Masella said in a news release. “Denied use of the university’s database for alumni student-athletes, our group was still able to enlist the support of nearly 200 additional Penn State student-athletes and coaches.”

Masella said the alumni list represents 17 sports spanning seven decades, with individuals opposing “unjustified NCAA sanctions.”

According to Masella, Mauti, now an NFL rookie, wrote: “I signed on because I have faith in justice and due process. I spent the last year fighting for it in the media and I’ll continue to fight for it with the men who built the program we all love. We all want what’s best for our program.”

Other prominent ex-Nittany Lions who have joined the cause, Masella said, include two-time NCAA champion and Olympic wrestler Kerry McCoy; national soccer player of the year Christie Welsh; former basketball coach Bruce Parkhill; and former wrestling coach John Fritz.

Masella said longtime Nittany Lions football broadcaster Fran Fisher also has joined the effort.

“Make no mistake, our group is sympathetic to and supportive of the victims of one man’s deeds,” Masella said. “The actions of Penn Staters and Penn State students, in raising money and awareness for these issues, speak volumes. But we recognize this fact: The NCAA’s actions will not promote healing and will cause harm to current and future student-athletes through these punitive sanctions. Supporting the victims and supporting due process are not mutually exclusive goals.”