We interrupt our regularly scheduled naval gazing to bring you this update.
As you may remember, the Four Letter Network sued the Ohio State University to gain access to documents that it felt were being shielded from public view. I’m sure they were only interested in getting the truth out to the masses.
The University’s decision was based on the Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act, which limits student information being released without the student’s permission. ESPN held that emails regarding the relationship between Terelle Pryor and Ted Sarniak did not meet the standard of “educational records”, but the Ohio Supreme Court disagreed-
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. For those limited records that should have been disclosed—at Respondent’s Evidence, Vol. III, Part 2, pages 668, 829-835, 859- 863, 999-1001, and 1009-1012, following the redaction of personally identifiable information, that is, the names of the student-athlete, his parents, his parents’ addresses, and the person associated with the student-athlete mentioned therein— and were thus not exempt from disclosure based on FERPA, however, we grant the writ.
We also deny ESPN’s request for attorney fees.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, given the large number of educational advocates and groups that came to the defense of Ohio State’s FERPA interpretation. If you’d care to read the entire ruling, here ’tis: State ex rel. ESPN v. Ohio State Univ., Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-2690.
In an email from Dan Wallenberg, the University has also issued a response.
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.
It’s interesting that the four letter network has taken to suing Ohio State while simultaneously trying to profit from their brand.
At any rate, this is good Tuesday news. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Cee Lo to listen to.