A former Penn State football player has disavowed a class-action head injury lawsuit filed Tuesday against Penn State, the NCAA and Big Ten Conference, even though he’s listed as a plaintiff.
Eric Ravotti, a former standout at Freeport High and head football coach at Fox Chapel, said in a statement Wednesday that he has “absolutely no interest in joining any lawsuit which attempts to defame Penn State,” adding that he did not give any direction or execute anything authorizing his involvement in the suit filed in the Northern District of Illinois.
“I feel this has severely misrepresented who I am and am outraged that my name would be used to try and further a case which not only I do not understand but have not given authorization to be involved in,” Ravotti said. “This misrepresentation is one that is in the process of being corrected. I have asked this attorney for the suit against the NCAA to remove my name from this suit as I had never agreed to join in the first place.”
James Boyd, who was a safety for Penn State from 1997-2001, was removed from the suit shortly after the filing. Robert Samuels, a defensive back from 1988-89, is the other plaintiff listed on the suit with Ravotti.
Penn State and Vanderbilt were the only two schools individually named in two of the six class-action lawsuits, though players from Utah, Oregon, Georgia and Auburn are suing their respective athletic conferences and the NCAA, according to CBS Sports.
A call to Chicago-based attorney Jay Edelson of Edelson PC, the law firm that filed the suits, was not immediately returned today. The Penn State athletic department released a statement saying, “We have not yet reviewed the complaint and thus do not have a comment at this time.”
The Office of General Counsel will review the complaint, a spokesman with the athletic department said.
Ravotti was a four-year starter at linebacker for the Nittany Lions (1990-94), eventually playing for the Steelers for three seasons and coaching at Fox Chapel from 2011 to 2014. He said in his statement that an attorney contacted him to discuss the case, but “the case was never explained nor what my involvement would have been had I agreed.”
According to court documents, Ravotti endures “deficits in cognitive functioning, reduced processing speed, decline in attention and reasoning, loss of memory, sleeplessness and mood swings” as a result of concussions while playing at Penn State.
In his statement, Ravotti said that claim was “utterly ridiculous.”