Penn State

NCAA asks for subpoenas in Paterno case

Scott Paterno enters the courthouse for the hearing. A hearing was held Monday, May 19, 2014 at the Centre County Courthouse, in Bellefonte, Pa., for the case of the Paterno family vs. the NCAA.
Scott Paterno enters the courthouse for the hearing. A hearing was held Monday, May 19, 2014 at the Centre County Courthouse, in Bellefonte, Pa., for the case of the Paterno family vs. the NCAA. CDT photo

After opposing subpoenas from the plaintiffs for months, the NCAA is now on the counterattack.

The college sports oversight organization is being sued, along with President Mark Emmert, former executive committee chairman Ed Ray and Penn State, by the estate of longtime Nittany Lion football coach Joe Paterno. The estate alleges defamation, breach of contract, tortious interference, commercial disparagement and conspiracy in the actions surrounding the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

On Wednesday, the NCAA filed a request for a subpoena in the case, taking aim at Paterno’s son, Scott.

NCAA attorney Thomas Scott, of Killian and Gephart LLP, asked Scott Paterno to provide all documents concerning the university-commissioned independent investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh and anything regarding the consent decree between the NCAA and Penn State, which allowed for the school’s unprecedented punishment.

He also asked for anything regarding the Paterno estate’s own investigations and critiques of the Freeh report and Sandusky scandal by former U.S. attorney general Dick Thornburgh, former FBI profiler and noted sex crimes expert Jim Clemente and psychiatrist and sex offender authority Fred Berlin.

Other topics noted were former assistant coach Sandusky and his charity, The Second Mile, former university president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley, former vice president Gary Schultz and former assistant coach Mike McQueary. Also mentioned were any communication with the state Attorney General’s Office, “all documents discussing the reputation or popularity of, or public support for” the late coach, his family or the other plaintiffs, including Paterno’s other son, former assistant coach Jay Paterno.

Requests also targeted awards given the family, the estate’s net worth, books or articles “contemplated, drafted or published” by the family and “all communications with any current or former Penn State” football player, coach, staff member, faculty or trustee, other than those named as parties in the suit, and any communications with state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, or former treasurer Rob McCord about the suit, their own action against the NCAA and more.

In short, request No. 34 summed up the demands: “Every public statement you made about the (c)onsent (d)ecree, the Freeh (r)eport, the NCAA or this litigation.”

Earlier this month, the NCAA subpoenaed Thornburgh’s law firm, K&L Gates, plus Clemente and Berlin.

The estate entered its first subpoenas in November 2014, asking to depose five university presidents who were members of the NCAA executive committee at the time of the Penn State sanctions. The NCAA fought those requests until the court overruled their objections March 30.

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