The Ohio Supreme Court found unanimously Tuesday that Ohio State University had acted correctly in most cases in shielding certain records from the request by ESPN that they be made public. ESPN had sued the school when OSU repeatedly refused to produce the records sought by the network.
ESPN had requested all correspondence to and from Jim Tressel containing the word "Sarniak" from 2007 to the present. Ted Sarniak was the Jeannette, PA-based businessman, who was the confidant and friend of Terrelle Pryor, the OSU quarterback at the center of the memorabilia for cash scandal that ultimately resulted in Tressel's termination as OSU head coach. The court agreed with OSU's argument that the university had a responsibility to maintain privacy under federal laws prohibiting disclosure of educational records without consent.
The university will be required by the court to produce certain other selected documents, but OSU officials consider the court's unanimous decision to be a major victory for the school. Marcus Hartman of BuckeyeSports.com has details here.
The university released a statement early Tuesday afternoon in response to the court's decision. It follows in its entirety:
“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. At the same time, the university also takes seriously its obligation to provide public information in accordance with Ohio law. The university provided ESPN with thousands of pages of records during the course of our NCAA investigation, and as now affirmed by a unanimous court, it acted responsibly in responding to the many varied and broad public record requests it received.”
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