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January 2, 2013

Paternos encouraged by lawsuit

STATE COLLEGE — Joe Paterno’s family says it’s encouraged by word that Pennsylvania’s governor is filing a federal lawsuit against the NCAA over its sanctions against Penn State.

The late football coach’s family released a statement Wednesday that says that Gov. Tom Corbett “now realizes, as do many others, that there was an inexcusable rush to judgment” in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

The NCAA imposed a $60 million fine, a multiyear bowl ban and other penalties in the wake of a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh that concluded Paterno and other Penn State officials covered up abuse reports. The scandal cost Paterno his job two months before his death last January at age 85.

Corbett says he is seeking to get the NCAA sanctions tossed.

The measures taken by the NCAA included vacating all of Penn State’s wins from 1998 through 2011 That cost Paterno 111 of his 409 career coaching victories, meaning he no longer holds the record for most coaching wins in major college football.

Paterno was not charged in the case.

Although the university had his bronze statue  removed from outside Beaver Stadium, fans remain fiercely loyal to Paterno, and shows of support such as T-shirts and cardboard cutouts of Paterno were common at Penn State home football games during the past season.

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