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Penn State appeal: Trustees prepared for federal lawsuit over NCAA sanctions

Some Penn State trustees will appeal the NCAA's sanctions against the university and, if the appeal is unsuccessful, plan to file a federal lawsuit, reports ESPN.com's Don Van Netta Jr.

Van Netta reports that "at least two" trustees are ready to appeal because the NCAA "did not give the school due process in meting out its punishment." He also reports the trustees expect to lose their appeal with the NCAA.

One of the newest Board members, retired Navy SEAL Ryan J. McCombie, is leading the effort and has retained an attorney to file the appeal, according to the ESPN report. In a letter to his fellow trustees, a copy of which was attained by ESPN, McCombie reportedly wrote, "I know my actions will be poorly received by some on this board and in the community at large. To that end it would be easier to remain silent and allow these unfair actions to remain unchallenged. I cannot do this."

The NCAA broke with its normal enforcement process in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, giving president Mark Emmert the authority to deliver the punishment.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson signed a consent decree in which he agreed to the penalties, which included a four-year postseason ban, $60 million fine and scholarship losses. Penn State also vacated all of its wins from 1998 to 2011.  The school reportedly faced a four-year "death penalty" but was able to avoid that sanction.

McCombie reportedly believes that Erickson did not have the authority to accept the penalties without a vote by the Board of Trustees.

Joe Paterno's family last week tried to appeal the penalties but an NCAA spokesman said, "The Penn State sanctions are not subject to appeal."

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