Jay Paterno, other ex-assistant sue Penn State


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.

Ex-Penn State TE Brent Wilkerson gets probation for indecent assault

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Ex-Penn State TE Brent Wilkerson gets probation for indecent assault

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — A former Penn State football player will serve five years' probation and register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to indecent assault.

Twenty-two-year-old Brent Wilkerson was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty in connection with a February outing to several bars with a young woman and others.

Police say Wilkerson was drunk but the woman was sober when he insisted on making sure she got home safe.

The woman tells police Wilkerson pushed her upstairs to her bedroom where he fell asleep. The woman says she went to bed later and woke up to find Wilkerson kissing and fondling her and fondling himself. He later apologized in a text message.

Wilkerson was kicked off the team in March. Court records say he lives in Clinton, Maryland.

Villanova's new task: Dealing with distraction of being the reigning champ

Villanova's new task: Dealing with distraction of being the reigning champ

VILLANOVA, Pa. — No matter how hard they guard against it, the Villanova Wildcats always end up finding themselves talking about April. Talking about the magical shot from the hands of Kris Jenkins. Talking about finally getting over the second-round demons and winning a national championship.

They deal with it on campus, off campus and in the media.

It comes with the territory.

“Very few teams right now are talking about last year,” coach Jay Wright said. 

Very few teams had the storybook ending Wright’s team had.

“Every time we talk to somebody, the first thing we talk about is last year,” Wright said. “We’ve talked about it as a team that’s something we’re going to have to deal with. The last couple years we’ve dealt with talking about losing in the second round, too. So we have a little bit of practice. But it is a great challenge and something we address every day.”

Villanova basketball held its annual media day Tuesday, and naturally, many of the conversations with Wright and his players started with the last six months and how their lives have changed.

Jenkins, whose three-pointer beat the buzzer to win the national title, was immediately surrounded by cameras and microphones.

How many times have you watched the shot?

“Recently, I haven’t really watched it,” Jenkins said. 

“It’s already behind me. We’re focused and ready to go this year.”

Long gone are the days when Wright and Co. could go unnoticed in the Philadelphia area. 

“It’s one of the great things about the Villanova job,” Wright said. “We get a lot of great media attention being in Philadelphia. It’s a great college basketball town. But you always can go wherever you want. ... For right now, it’s a little different. I have a feeling as the season wears on it will settle down. It’s worse for Kris Jenkins, I’ve seen that. ... Josh Hart, too.”

“Life changed a little bit,” Jenkins said. “But as far as basketball, coming to work, trying to get better, that part hasn’t changed.”

That sentiment, and the laser-like focus Jenkins and others talked about Tuesday, is the same day-to-day approach Wright’s teams have become synonymous with lately. 

Leave it to a Wright-coached player to find a negative in the attention and diversions.

Hart, a senior like Jenkins, spoke Tuesday about the difficulties of preparing for this year with all the distractions. Surely it’s a problem 300-plus other basketball teams would love to deal with.

But Hart said a Villanova summer — like many others around the college basketball world — is about staying conditioned, working out as a team and getting used to the new faces on the roster. He described how he’d see a few good days of work get halted by going to the ESPYs. A few more good days of work were put on hold to go to the White House, where each champion shook hands and spoke with president Barack Obama.

“Don’t get me wrong, I would not change it for anything, but it’s been tough,” Hart said. “Every time we’re focused on this year, in some shape we’ll be brought back to the national championship.”

Just a hunch, Hart and the others don’t mind it all that much.