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Published: Thursday, 9/22/2011

Court tells OSU to surrender papers


COLUMBUS -- The state Supreme Court Wednesday ordered Ohio State University to provide copies to the justices -- under seal -- of records ESPN wants stemming from possible wrongdoing inside its athletic department.

The high court included the requirement as part of a 7-0 ruling that set a briefing schedule in the case.

On July 11, ESPN sued OSU, alleging among other things that the university withheld emails requested by the TV network by wrongfully hiding behind a federal student-privacy law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

In an initial response to the suit, OSU attached a letter that Jim Lynch, senior director of media relations, wrote to ESPN on July 29.

In it, Lynch said the school was providing more documents. But he excluded records protected by attorney/client privilege and education records that "are so directly related to individual students as to make their entire contents personally identifiable information protected under FERPA."

Lynch wrote the university was surprised by the lawsuit and believed that "a continuation of our regular and ongoing conversations would have been fruitful in identifying any public records that you may be seeking."

The Supreme Court told ESPN and OSU to file evidence within 20 days, with legal briefs to follow.

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