In a press release Wednesday, the Paterno estate followed through on its rumored decision to file a lawsuit against the NCAA, available at Paterno.com. The estate, along with nine football players profiled by StateCollege.com, have brought a case, focused on reducing or eliminating sanctions, in similar fashion to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
This is another case where, in an effort to right the situation, the Paterno estate is treading in troubled waters.
The lawsuit, ultimately, is no different. In fact, it combines both sides of that in an effort to help the Penn State community and, of course, Penn State great, Joe Paterno.
Therein lies the problem. A problem that both Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! and David Jones of Penn Live both point out. Wetzel speaks straight to the lawsuit, while Jones' column discusses the recent sports medicine spat that emerged between head coach Bill O'Brien and Anthony Lubrano of the Board of Trustees.
Penn State is trying to move forward. The football program, the school, the community, the students and the alums are pushing forward toward the future. They are not forgetting the past, but rather shouldering their sanctions and moving forward to show that they are going to get better and stronger following the scandal.
Yet, these hands grabbing from the past, hoping to reclaim things that were lost and maintain a sense of what was keep reaching at the forward-moving feet of Penn State. Yes, the lawsuit says "Paterno estate" and "former players," but to the nation at large it projects as "Joe Paterno," and that makes the waters in which they are swimming quite choppy.
There is almost no ability to distinguish between pushing to preserve a legacy and challenging the lack of due process that, as we've stated here before, should certainly be questioned.
For those hoping to grab some ground on the NCAA and its use of "catch-all" rules, the Paterno lawsuit, as well as Governor Tom Corbett's suit, could give some hope, should they prove successful. Unfortunately, for a large portion of the Penn State community, that fight comes at the cost of appearing to be stuck in the past.
Penn State football is moving forward. Bill O'Brien has galvanized his group, and they are hoping to head into the future strong as ever. The students are moving forward, looking to what comes next. As the community moves ahead, that call from the past becomes more bothersome than anything, and perhaps it is time that the Paterno estate take a step back.