In this Sept. 6, 2008, file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno walks the field during warmups before their NCAA college football game against Oregon State in State College, Pa.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) —
Penn State has agreed to provide millions in payments and benefits to
Joe Paterno's estate and family members under the late football coach's
employment contract, although a family lawyer says the Paternos did not
sign away their right to sue.
The school turned over four checks
Thursday worth more than $3 million for bonuses that covered the season,
bowl game and entire career, according to a university spokeswoman.
breakdown provided by Penn State included the use by Paterno's family
of a Beaver Stadium suite for 25 years and $900,000 from television and
radio revenue from last season. Half the broadcast revenues were paid in
February, and the rest will be paid later this year, the school said.
family lawyer Wick Sollers issued a statement Thursday saying there has
been no settlement but rather "a straightforward payment of moneys
indisputably owed to the Paterno estate. The university had requested
that the family agree to a full release in return for the payments under
the contract. That request was declined and no release was signed."
Without a release, Paterno's estate could still sue under the contract or some other reason, if it wishes.
spokesman Bill Mahon described it as the university and Paterno's
estate finalizing the remaining payments that were due to the longtime
coach, who was fired in November in the wake of former assistant Jerry
Sandusky's arrest on child sexual abuse charges.
Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85.
university also said it would pay the coach's widow, Sue Paterno,
$1,000 a month for life, and provide her with on-campus parking and
access to university hydrotherapy equipment.
Other elements of the
package include a final paycheck of $34,000, a death benefit of $51,000
and $350,000 — payable over five years — under a 1986 consulting
agreement. The university also agreed to forgive $350,000 in outstanding
loans and debt. No explanation was provided regarding Paterno's debts
to the school.
While the school said in a news release that the
total value of the package was "over $5.5 million," added together the
various elements are worth about $6.7 million. The stadium suite was
valued at $1.5 million.
The university's breakdown said his
contract was amended in August to include a $3 million career bonus if
he retired at the end of the season, the payment that constituted the
largest part of the money his estate received Thursday. After Sandusky
was arrested, Paterno announced he planned to retire at the season's
end, but he then removed as coach by the trustees, who have said a
"failure of leadership" on his part contributed to their decision.
Mahon said the trustees decided to honor the terms of Paterno's contract as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 season.
contract recognized Coach Paterno's decades-long contributions to our
football program and to the entire university," Mahon said.
spent six decades at Penn State and 46 seasons as head coach, winning
two national championships and becoming the face of the university.
is awaiting a June trial on 52 charges for alleged abuse of 10 boys
over a 15-year period, allegations he has repeatedly denied. Also
charged were athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary
Schultz, accused of lying to a grand jury and failing to report
suspected child abuse. They also await trial and have denied the
The scandal also led to the departure of university president Graham Spanier, who remains a faculty member.