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Pennsylvania suing NCAA over Penn State sanctions. Does it have a case?

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In June, a jury convicted former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of 45 counts related to the sexual molestation of 10 minors, all male, over a 15-year period. The scandal stretched far beyond Mr. Sandusky and forced both the resignations of several top university officials and the early retirement of Joe Paterno, the university’s beloved football coach, who has since passed away.

According to an independent investigative report conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, Mr. Paterno was involved in concealing Sandusky’s abusive behavior from authorities. The university’s board of trustees hired Mr. Freeh to investigate the university’s handling of the Sandusky accusations.

The NCAA based its sanctions on the Freeh report. Besides the $60 million fine, the NCAA also imposed a four-year ban on bowl games and any post-season play, a reduction in the number of football scholarships from 25 to 15, and the forfeiture of all wins between 1998-2011.

In imposing the sanctions, the NCAA took the unusual step in bypassing its usual policy for investigating possible violations, which can take a year or more. When announcing the sanctions in July, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the Freeh report was “vastly more involved and thorough than any investigation” his organization had ever conducted.

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