The Penn State football saga involving Jerry Sandusky is seemingly never-ending.
Former Penn State assistant coaches Bill Kenney and Jay Paterno, son of the deceased former head coach Joe Paterno, have filed a federal lawsuit seeking $US1 million from the university as they believe they were unfairly linked to the sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, CNN reports.
They believe the connection to the scandal led to their dismissals, although Penn State issued a statement to PennLive.com saying “it is common practice for incoming head coaches to select their own coaching staff.”
Bill O’Brien, who was hired as Penn State’s coach in the aftermath of the scandal, made the choice not retain Paterno and Kenney on his staff, according to CNN.
Paterno and Kenney have since been “denied lucrative employment opportunities based upon the false light and association by innuendo,” the suit claims, according to CNN. Kenney currently works as the offensive line and tight ends coach at Western Michigan University after being hired in 2013, and Paterno had considering running for both Congress and Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania in the aftermath of his firing, although he did not pursue either venture.
The $US1 million in damages sought by the pair of former Penn State coaches is for “their emotional distress, humiliation, loss of reputation and status in the community of their respective peers, and the loss of their ability to provide for themselves,” the complaint states, according to CNN, and they want Penn State to issue a public statement confirming the pair had nothing to do with Sandusky’s crimes.
Some members of the Penn State community believe the school acted rashly after the Sandusky scandal so the football program would not receive the so-called “death penalty” from the NCAA, the New York Times reports. The school’s actions included immediately dismissing longtime coach Joe Paterno and agreeing to pay $US60 million to the NCAA.
The death penalty, a ban of at least one year from competing, is the harshest sanction the NCAA has ever enacted.
The ban has only been implemented on five occasions, with the two most prominent being Kentucky men’s basketball for the 1952-1953 season and Southern Methodist University’s football team for the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
Before their firings, Jay Paterno coached at Penn State for 17 seasons and was a quarterback on the team between 1986-90. Kenney had coached at the school for 23 seasons.
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