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Ousted Penn State Team Doctor Sues Franklin, Barbour, School

In this file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin responds to a question during the Big Ten Conference NCAA college football media days Friday, July 19, 2019, in Chicago.
Charles Rex Arbogast
AP Photo

A former Penn State team doctor is suing the school, football coach James Franklin and athletic director Sandy Barbour, claiming he was ousted after complaining to school officials about being pressured to clear players to return from injuries.

The lawsuit filed Friday by Dr. Scott Lynch in Dauphin County was first reported by Penn Live. Lynch was removed from his position as director of athletic medicine in March and replaced by Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, who had previously held the position until 2013.

Lynch is seeking $50,000 in damages.

Penn State Health and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where Lynch is still employed, also are named as defendants.

In the lawsuit, Lynch claims Franklin attempted to interfere with the doctor's authority on "multiple and repeated occasions." Lynch said he reported Franklin's "wrongdoing" to Barbour and associate athletic director Charmelle Green, who is also named as a defendant. Lynch claims in the lawsuit that on or about Jan. 24, Barbour and Green communicated to Dr. Kevin Black of Penn State Health that Lynch be relieved of his assignment of football team orthopedic physician and director of athletic medicine.

Requests for comment from Franklin and Barbour were directed to Penn State Health. In a statement, Penn State Health said the transition was made with the "best interests of student-athletes in mind..."

"While we reject Dr. Lynch's claims and will vigorously defend our program and its representatives, we remain grateful to him for his five years as director of athletic medicine for Intercollegiate Athletics and for his continued association with Penn State Health," the statement said.

Lynch claims Penn State violated whistleblower laws by removing him and Big Ten Conference and NCAA rules by Franklin infringing on the autonomy of the medical staff.

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