Judge says NCAA can get more info on Jay Paterno job search

Son of football coach claims NCAA damaged his reputation

By Mark Scolforo
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania judge has given the NCAA the ability to get more information about efforts by a son of Penn State's legendary football coach Joe Paterno to find employment in years past and about his short-lived 2014 campaign for lieutenant governor.

Centre County court officials made public Monday an order directing former assistant football coach Jay Paterno and another former assistant, Bill Kenney, to provide complete responses about their efforts to find work before 2011, the year the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal broke.

Judge John Leete also ruled, however, that Jay Paterno does not have to produce drafts and notes from writing "Paterno Legacy," a memoir, but he must turn over polling data and other information about his 2014 candidacy.

Kenney, Paterno and the estate of the late Joe Paterno are pursuing a civil claim against college sports' governing body.

Information on the two men's previous job searches could help show whether their professional prospects got worse after the NCAA and Penn State entered into a consent decree that was critical of the university's athletics programs.

Details from inside Jay Paterno's campaign could demonstrate how he was viewed by the wider public, an issue that might affect his claim that his reputation suffered as a result of the NCAA's actions.

The judge did not rule on whether the Paterno team must return to Penn State 121 sets of notes of interviews conducted with university employees and others. After Sandusky was charged, the interview subjects met with a legal team working for Penn State led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

Leete said Kenney and the Paternos can file those notes under seal so the judge can examine whether their status is covered by previous court orders.

The county court also publicly released a motion filed Friday by the two sides about the case schedule. It sets out a series of deadlines between now and August. If the case remains active by then, they wrote, the judge can schedule briefs about whether the case should be moved from the State College area and address when trial will take place.

Joe Paterno's estate is suing the NCAA and two officials for commercial disparagement, saying a since-abolished consent decree with Penn State made false and defamatory statements. Jay Paterno and Kenney, now an assistant at Western Michigan University, argue they have been prevented from finding comparable jobs and were victims of a civil conspiracy.

Penn State was dropped as a defendant in the case in July.

Sandusky, who spent decades as the Nittany Lions' top defensive coach under Joe Paterno, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012 and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence.

A hearing on Sandusky's request that he be allowed to obtain new information for his Post-Conviction Relief Act appeal is scheduled for this month in Bellefonte.

Published: Thu, Oct 15, 2015