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Paterno family wants to appeal Penn State sanctions

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 2:40 PM EDT, Sat August 4, 2012
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died on January 22. He was 85. The legendary coach, seen here in 1988, was fired in November 2011 during his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions program. Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died on January 22. He was 85. The legendary coach, seen here in 1988, was fired in November 2011 during his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions program.
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Paterno as Penn State coach
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Paterno family wants to appeal NCAA sanctions against Penn State
  • It argues NCAA relied on flawed report, acted hastily
  • NCAA said such an appeal is not allowed in this case

(CNN) -- Joe Paterno's family said Friday it intends to appeal the National Collegiate Athletic Association's sanctions against Penn State University in the aftermath of the child sexual abuse scandal.

But the family's plans hit an immediate roadblock.

Workers on Tuesday, July 24, remove the concrete landing area and wall where the Joe Paterno statue once stood in State College, Pennsylvania. Workers on Tuesday, July 24, remove the concrete landing area and wall where the Joe Paterno statue once stood in State College, Pennsylvania.
Final tributes, Paterno statue removed
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Final tributes, Paterno statue removed Final tributes, Paterno statue removed

"Penn State's sanctions are not subject to appeal," said NCAA spokesman Bob Williams.

Calling it "a stark wake-up call to everyone involved in college sports," the NCAA in late July announced a $60 million fine against Penn State University and stripped 14 seasons of football victories from the late Paterno. Penn State President Rodney Erickson said the university had accepted the decision and would not appeal.

Former senator to be integrity monitor for Penn State

Wick Sollers, attorney for Paterno's family, said the sanctions caused "enormous damage" to Penn State, students, athletes and Paterno.

The sanctions are part of the continued fallout from the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted in late June of 45 of the 48 counts he faced involving 10 young victims.

The NCAA action followed an independent investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, whose report held Paterno and other top Penn State officials responsible for failing to stop the abuse beginning in 1998.

Paterno's family sharply objected to Freeh's findings and criticized the NCAA and university leadership for accepting the report's conclusions.

The Freeh report, Sollers wrote, "is incomplete, rife with unsupported opinions and unquestionably one-sided."

Soller's letter also argued the NCAA acted hastily and without regard for due process.

The family contends it can appeal because Paterno was named in the consent decree and in the Freeh report.

Penn State faced a multiyear shutdown of its football program had it not agreed with the sanctions, Erickson told CNN.

Complete coverage of the Penn State scandal

CNN's Ross Levitt contributed to this report.

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