The dramatic decision by the NCAA, which serves as the governing body for major college sports, was a step short of the much-feared “
” that would have effectively ended the football program made famous by Paterno.
chairman emeritus George Mitchell, a former U.S. senator and
diplomatic envoy to global trouble spots
appointed by the NCAA last week
to serve as an independent “athletics integrity” and compliance monitor for Penn State.
While Penn State avoided the death penalty, the NCAA’s still-severe sanctions left Paterno’s legacy in tatters. The lost wins meant that Paterno,
who died in January at 85
three months after being fired by the school, was no longer the coach with the most victories in Division I college football. (Paterno’s family, represented by
King & Spalding
partner J. Sedwick Sollers III, has vowed to
conduct its own review of Freeh’s findings
, on which the NCAA’s punishments were based.)
The letter further questions the NCAA’s reliance on Freeh’s report as a basis for its sanctions and claims that Penn State president Rodney Erickson acted outside his authority when he accepted the NCAA’s punishment without consulting with the university’s board of trustees.
The Am Law Daily last spoke with Clifton two years ago about his plans to expand the sports practice at Jackson Lewis, which opined on the NCAA’s “historic penalties” against Penn State earlier this month on its
collegiate and professional sports law blog
. Clifton, who works out of the firm’s Phoenix office, previously represented baseball players like Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, and David Wells as a sports agent.
Kelly went on to become executive director of College Hockey Inc., an organization that handles the business aspects of collegiate hockey for Division I schools playing the sport as part of the NCAA. He held that role until April of this year,
when Kelly joined Jackson Lewis
Reed Smith said in a statement to The Am Law Daily that it continues to serve as “counsel to the university and the board of trustees on a variety of matters, including with respect to the NCAA consent decree.”
Earlier this year,
Penn State unveiled a new transparency initiative
in which it publicly disclosed its outside legal fees related to the Sandusky scandal. Updated figures provided by the university show that Reed Smith and Freeh’s firm, as well as a handful of public relations and consulting firms, are splitting up more than $5.3 million in fees.