Michigan State loses appeal in student records fight with ESPN
East Lansing —The Michigan Supreme Court denied a request for appeal from Michigan State on Wednesday, a decision stemming from a suit filed by ESPN after names of students were redacted from incident reports the network requested.
It means Michigan State will have to disclose the names of suspects who were among the 301 student-athletes that ESPN had identified in its original request under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. Michigan State released those reports but the names were redacted. ESPN then sued to have the information released.
"MSU is disappointed that the state Supreme Court chose not to hear our appeal," university spokesman Jason Cody said. "We believe there were legitimate privacy concerns raised in this case, and we would have welcomed the opportunity to present them to the Court.
"That being said, we will abide by the decision and will fulfill ESPN's FOIA request as stipulated by the Court of Appeals' ruling from August 2015."
ESPN had asked for the records as part of an "Outside the Lines" investigation that examined how various universities dealt with student athletes who were accused of crimes.
Michigan State had cited privacy exemptions in the FOIA statute in defending its decision to redact names from the incident reports. However, the Ingham County Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals both ruled that the exemptions should apply only to victims and witnesses named in the reports.
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