- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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First, the appeal came from the Paterno family. Next came a group of Penn State trustees. Now eight former Penn State players, along with an ex-assistant coach, are appealing the NCAA sanctions handed down to the football program July 23.
The group on Tuesday filed an appeal of the consent decree imposed upon Penn State, challenging the manner in which the consent decree was reached and accusing the NCAA of violating its own bylaws in handing down the punitive penalties against the football program. The former players, part of Penn State's Letterman's Club, all competed between 1998-2011, the period where all Penn State wins were vacated as part of the NCAA's sanctions.
The eight ex-players are: Michael Robinson (2001-05); Anwar Phillips (2001-05); Josh Gaines (2004-08); Shamar Finney (1998-2002); Richard Gardner (1999-2003); Gerald Cadogan (2004-08); Anthony Adams (1998-2002) and Justin Kurpeikis (1996-2000). Former Penn State assistant Bill Kenney, who worked on the staff full-time from 1988-2011, also signed the appeal.
The appeal challenges the validity of the Freeh Report and the NCAA's use of it in place of a standard investigation into Penn State. Much of the focus seems to be on the vacated wins.
From the appeal:
"... despite an express finding in the consent decree that 'no student-athlete is responsible for these [Sandusky-related] events," the NCAA decided nonetheless to 'vacate all wins of the Penn State football team from 1998 to 2011.' This sanction is unreasonable, excessive, unprecedented, and constitutes an indignity to the men who honorably fulfilled their responsibilities as student-athletes and coaches at Penn State under Coach Joe Paterno during this time period. If a primary intended purpose of the sanctions is to attempt to change the culture at Penn State and 'realign it in a sustainable fashion with expected norms and values of intercollegiate athletics,' these sanctions not only miss the mark, but they inflict permanent damage to an entire generation of student-athletes ..."
Permanent damage? Hmmm. I can think of some people involved in this scandal who suffered a different type of permanent damage.
Short, a former Penn State linebacker, wrote to members of the Letterman's Club:
The appeal to the NCAA that this group of Letterman are filing is a tangible example of how the Penn State Letterman can act to effect positive change. These letterman are acting on behalf of all of us who played, all who are playing and all who will play at Penn State. While this initiative is currently being lead by players from 1998 -2011 they represent ALL of us.
By the way, NCAA spokesman Bob Williams on Friday tweeted that NCAA sanctions are not subject to appeal.