Jay Paterno, other ex-assistant sue Penn State

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Jay Paterno, other ex-assistant sue Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has sued the university over his dismissal from its coaching staff two years ago, saying he has been unfairly linked to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Former assistant coach Jay Paterno and another former assistant, Bill Kenney, filed a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia on Monday, seeking more than $1 million and a statement from the university saying they did nothing wrong related to Sandusky, who was convicted of abusing several boys, some on campus.

Paterno and Kenney said in the lawsuit that they and other coaches at Penn State were let go in early 2012 "at the height of the Sandusky scandal's dark shroud and without any attempt whatsoever by Penn State to preserve the reputations of these guiltless individuals."

Joe Paterno was fired as the Nittany Lions' coach before the end of the 2011 season, and his assistants took over for the last few games. Bill O'Brien, who was hired as coach in January 2012, replaced much of Paterno's staff.

In response to the claims in the lawsuit, Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said it's common practice for incoming head coaches to pick their own assistants. She declined to comment further.

Jay Paterno was on the coaching staff for 17 seasons, mostly as quarterbacks coach, and Kenney spent 23 years as an offensive assistant and recruiting coordinator.

Their lawsuit says Penn State's consent decree with the NCAA over the Sandusky scandal and its commissioned report into the matter led by former FBI director Louis Freeh have made it impossible for them to get hired for comparable positions in college or professional sports or in the media.

Kenney is now an assistant at Western Michigan University, and Paterno is a freelance sports writer and consultant with a book coming out soon.

Their lawsuit says they have been deprived of their constitutional liberty and property interest without due process of law, alleges intentional interference with contractual relations, says a civil conspiracy has occurred and charges that Penn State violated state wage law.

Joe Paterno died of lung cancer in January 2012, two months after Sandusky, his former longtime defensive coordinator, was charged with child sexual abuse. Sandusky was convicted of dozens of criminal counts and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence but maintains his innocence, acknowledging he showered with boys but denying he molested them.

O'Brien left Penn State for the NFL's Houston Texans. James Franklin's first season as Penn State's head coach starts Aug. 30.

Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

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USA Today Images

Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK -- Lamar Jackson leapt over a loaded field of Heisman Trophy contenders early in the season and by the time he slowed down nobody could catch him.

The sensational sophomore quarterback became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, beating out preseason favorite Deshaun Watson of Clemson despite some late-season struggles.

Baker Mayfield finished third and Oklahoma teammate and fellow finalist Dede Westbrook was fourth. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers was fifth.

Watson, who finished third in Heisman voting last year, led a stacked group of contenders entering this season that included five of the top seven vote-getters in 2015.

Jackson outdid them all in his first season as Louisville's full-time starter, accounting for 51 touchdowns and averaging 410 yards per game in total offense. He ultimately won going away, with 2,144 points to Watson's 1,524. By percentage of possible points received, Jackson's victory was the sixth largest in Heisman history, and he became the youngest winner at 19 years, 352 days.

Jackson is the first Heisman Trophy winner to play on a team that lost its last two games of the regular season since Tim Brown of Notre Dame in 1987. He's the first to enter the postseason without a chance to win the national title since Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M in 2012.

No matter. Jackson did so much before November it was difficult to deny him the award because of a couple of missteps at the end.

He provided a signature moment against Syracuse, hurdling a defender on his way into the end zone, and then played his best against Louisville's toughest competition.

In a romp over Florida State and a close loss at Clemson, Jackson threw for 511 yards, ran for 308 and accounted for eight touchdowns. After ripping apart Florida State in September, he earned the stamp of approval from his idol, former Virginia Tech and NFL star Mike Vick.

Jackson left that Oct. 1 game in Death Valley as a threat to run away with the Heisman, but losses to Houston and Kentucky, when he committed four turnovers, in late November provided an opportunity for others to sway voters.

Watson made the biggest surge, but ultimately fell short.

Jackson continues a recent trend of breakout stars winning the Heisman. He is the sixth player to win the award as either a redshirt freshman or sophomore, all since 2007, joining Manziel (redshirt freshman), Jameis Winston (redshirt freshman), Mark Ingram (sophomore), Sam Bradford (sophomore) and Tim Tebow (sophomore).

Jackson came to Louisville as a three-star recruit from Boynton Beach High School in Florida. Some colleges were not sold on him as a quarterback, but Jackson was such a dynamic talented Louisville coach Bobby Petrino altered his offense to accommodate Jackson's speed and elusiveness.

Jackson flashed brilliance as a freshman and showed what was to come in the Music City Bowl against Texas A&M. He had 453 total yards and led Louisville to a victory.

Still, with so many well-established stars from Watson and Mayfield to running backs Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, Dalvin Cook of Florida State and Leonard Fournette of LSU, Jackson entered the season without much fanfare.

Just the way he likes it.

Jackson spent this season adjusting to newfound fame, growing into the role of face of the team and trying to stay out of the spotlight. He said he cut down on trips to the mall to avoid the inevitable crowds he drew.

He is about to become even more popular. Especially back in Louisville, where he has another year before he can even consider his next big jump -- to the NFL.

Josh Hart's 37 points lead No. 1 Villanova to win over No. 23 Notre Dame

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The Associated Press

Josh Hart's 37 points lead No. 1 Villanova to win over No. 23 Notre Dame

NEWARK, N.J. — Josh Hart wasn’t keeping track of how many points he was accumulating on Saturday against No. 23 Notre Dame.  

All that was on the mind of the senior standout guard was doing anything he could to help protect No. 1 Villanova’s unscathed record with a win over the Fighting Irish.

And, just as he has time and time again, Hart delivered for the Wildcats.

Hart poured in a career high 37 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out four assists to lead Villanova to a late 74-66 win over the Fighting Irish in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center (see Instant Replay).

Even more impressive than his career-high final scoring line was how efficient he was in getting there. Hart made all but four shots on the afternoon, going 10 of 14 from the field, three of four from beyond the arc and a perfect 14 of 14 from the charity stripe.

“I honestly didn’t know how many points I had,” Hart said. “I was just trying to make the right play.

“You have to take what the defense gives you. If all you want to do is get points and the defense takes that away then you’re frustrated and you’re not at your best. … I really attribute that to my teammates and my coaches for really helping me develop my decision making, definitely this offseason, and reading the defense and taking what I can get.”

Notre Dame gave Villanova all it could handle in the first half, building its advantage over the Wildcats to as many as 11 at 35-24 with under four minutes remaining. 

With all of the momentum in favor of the Fighting Irish and the potential of an upset growing, Hart began to take over.

Hart would score 10 of Villanova’s final 12 points in the first half, as the Wildcats kept Notre Dame in striking distance and trimmed their deficit down to five entering the break. 

And after posting 19 of his team’s 36 points in the first half, Hart was nowhere near finished on the afternoon. 

With Villanova still lingering on the short side of a 50-42 game seven minutes into the latter half, Hart scored 16 of the Wildcats’ next 21 points. Hart’s final two points of that stretch, a pair of free throws with six-plus minutes remaining, would give Villanova a lead it wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game.

“His game is just matured and he makes the right play every time,” Mikal Bridges said of Hart. “If he sees an opening he’s going to go strong and aggressive. But if somebody steps up he’s going to make the right pass.”

It wasn’t just his scoring that propelled the Wildcats to their 10th win of the season, either. Hart finished with a team-high four assists, which was highlighted by a set-up on a Jalen Brunson transition lay-up that gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game at the nine minute mark of the second half. The senior guard was also active on the boards, pulling down a team-high 11.

Just two games after posting his first career triple-double, Hart, who entered the game as Villanova’s leader in points, rebounds and assists, flashed his improved all-around game once again against the Fighting Irish.

“He’s as good as any player in the country and he’s so complete,” head coach Jay Wright said. “He will do whatever it takes to win a game and he’s got the ability to do it and at the right time. He got big rebounds at the end of the game. He got offensive rebounds. He scored, passed it, made free throws. He defended [Steve] Vasturia. He did everything. He is as complete a player as we’ve ever had.”

“He’s got great strength,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. “Just from watching him last year and now seeing him live in front of me for two hours, there is a great mental and physical toughness and he really drives that group. He’s a great story. Here’s a guy that just got better every year.”

As Josh Hart continued to boost his campaign for National Player of the Year, the Wildcats cemented their No. 1 spot in the national college basketball polls for at least another week with a program-record tying 16th straight win dating back to last season.

Notre Dame showed that No. 1 Villanova isn’t invincible, but that’s something Hart and the Wildcats were already more than aware of.

“Not at all,” Hart said when asked if Villanova feels as if it can’t lose. “We came in and they punched us in the mouth. When you’re down 11, 12 you don’t have the mentality that you can’t lose. So we know we have to keep getting better. We can’t get complacent no matter where we are, no matter what our record is. … If we do that and play a 40-minute Villanova basketball game and a team is able to pull it out at the end, we’ll tip our hats and the next day we’re going to go and get better.”