"There's simply nothing in this record, in the Freeh report, that indicates he (Paterno) was involved in any way," Thornburgh told The Associated Press.
Freeh defended his report.
"I stand by our conclusion that four of the most powerful people at Penn State failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade," he said in a statement issued Sunday through a spokesman.
The NCAA took unprecedented action in the wake of the Freeh report by quickly levying strict sanctions on Penn State's football team, including a four-year bowl ban, strict scholarship cuts and a $60 million fine on the university. College sports' governing body also vacated 111 wins under Paterno, erasing what had been his major college record of 409 career victories.
Knight took issue with the sanctions in his statement, which was first obtained by ESPN.com.
"The NCAA acted outside its charter and rendered judgment absent any kind of investigation or judicial hearing. It was simply grandstanding," Knight said.
An NCAA spokeswoman said the organization stood by its previous statements and declined to comment Sunday.
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