Tuesday's arguments also centered on the procedures the NCAA used to determine penalties.
"They cut a new path with this case, no question about it," Leete told the lawyers.
The lawsuit seeks a court order voiding the agreement between the NCAA and Penn State last year, which included a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on post-season play and the elimination of 112 wins during the final years of the Paterno era. It also imposed a temporary reduction in scholarships, a penalty the NCAA softened last month.
Johnson said the erasure of Paterno's wins was not a sanction against Paterno.
"Coach Paterno doesn't own those wins," Johnson said. "Those are wins at Penn State University at a time when he was an employee."
Paterno died in January 2012 — about two months after Sandusky's arrest — of complications from lung cancer. The university took down a statue in his honor outside Beaver Stadium, although the school library and other facilities still bear the name of the coach who spent six decades at Penn State.
His son Scott Paterno, a lawyer, was in the courtroom for the hearing but declined to comment afterward.
Sandusky maintains his innocence, but a mid-level state appeals court recently turned down his request for a new trial.
The abuse scandal rocked Penn State, leading the board of trustees to fire Paterno and resulting in the unprecedented sanctions against the famous football program.
Three former Penn State administrators await trial in Harrisburg on charges they engaged in a criminal cover-up of the scandal. Former President Graham Spanier, retired Vice President Gary Schultz and retired athletic director Tim Curley deny the allegations. A trial date has not been scheduled.