The Supreme Court of Ohio unanimously declined to order Ohio State to release many records related to the 2011 NCAA investigation of football coach Jim Tressel. From our colleagues at WOSU:
The Ohio Supreme Court has sided with Ohio State University in a lawsuit brought by ESPN over records it sought in connection to the university’s football scandal and NCAA investigation … The court on Tuesday unanimously ruled that for the most part Ohio State properly shielded records as either protected by federal privacy laws or attorney-client privilege.
(Scroll down to read the court’s opinion.)
However, the court did find that Ohio State officials had violated the state Public Records Act in withholding some public records.
The court said Ohio State was wrong to withhold public records just by saying that the school would “not release anything on the pending investigation.” There is no ”ongoing investigation” exemption for public records, the court wrote.
Ohio State was also wrong to withhold records including game pass lists by claiming that the records request was too broad and not giving ESPN a chance to better describe the records it was seeking, the court said.
Still, the court concluded:
Because, for the most part, Ohio State established that FERPA and the attorney-client privilege prohibited the disclosure of the requested records, we deny the writ to that extent.
Update, 4:30 p.m.: Ohio State released a written statement that says in part: “Ohio State appreciates the clarity given today by the Ohio Supreme Court affirming the university’s interpretation of federal student privacy laws. Our student athletes are treated the same way as all of our 64,000 students, and we take seriously our obligation to protect the confidentiality of all of our students’ education records.”