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NCAA appeals to high court as Florida State releases documents

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  1. Freedom of Information
Florida State University released a transcript that was the subject of a protracted public records dispute Wednesday as the National…

Florida State University released a transcript that was the subject of a protracted public records dispute Wednesday as the National College Athletic Association made a last-ditch request to Florida Supreme Court to halt the disciplinary documents’ release, The New York Times reported.

According to theTallahassee Democrat, the NCAA sought an emergency order that would have blocked the court-ordered release of two documents – a 695-page transcript of a secret October 2008 disciplinary hearing over FSU’s self-reported cheating scandal and the NCAA’s response.

Two Florida courts had rules the transcript was a public record after 26 media organizations filed a suit against FSU and the NCAA after the university denied records requests in June. At the time of the denial, university officials told reporters that the school’s outside counsel agreed to NCAA demands to keep the documents confidential, which the NCAA made available in a read-only format on a password-protected Web site.

A Florida District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling on Oct. 1 that the NCAA must release the documents under the state’s records act because it is a state-funded university. The same court on Monday refused to certify the decision for Florida Supreme Court review.

The Tallahassee Democrat, FSU’s hometown paper, reported that the NCAA continues to assert that the records belong to the organization.

"The NCAA intends to seek all legal remedies associated with this case," NCAA spokesman Bob Williams told the Tallahassee Democrat. "We feel strongly that our private documents are not subject to public-records laws."

In Florida, the supreme court typically takes up a District Court of Appeals ruling only if the decision “is of great public importance or directly conflicts with a ruling of another district court,” the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The NCAA said in its Wednesday court filings that the Oct. 1 ruling does conflict with another district or supreme court decision without specifying which one.

The Florida Supreme Court could still decide to review the case even after FSU has released the records.