If you recall a while back, we talked a little bit about the ESPN lawsuit they brought against the Ohio State administration. The basis of the case is that when the Jim Tressel scandal broke, ESPN’s Tom Farrey made repeated requests for information from the University, citing Ohio’s Open Records Laws.
While OSU did turn over much of what Farrey and ESPN requested, some items were withheld by the University with the school arguing that turning over the records would violate FERPA’s student privacy protection guidelines. ESPN wasn’t satisfied with that answer, and took it to the courts to try to get the documents handed over to them.
It was an interesting case with some fairly serious ramifications no matter which way the courts decided. After several months of arguments, the court has reached it’s decision:
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.
The court said in a few cases Ohio State must remove certain names from documents which it then must provide ESPN.
The court also denied ESPN’s request for attorney fees.
This is a big decision, not just for Ohio State, but for all public Universities with high profile athletic departments. While many media outlets were aligning with ESPN in the case, several educational institutions were siding with Ohio State. By upholding Ohio State’s right to protect the privacy of its students, a precedent has been set for similar future cases with other schools.