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NCAA statements disappoint FSU's Wetherell

8/21/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Exactly nine minutes after Florida State released a statement defending itself from a report in the Oklahoman that it essentially ratted out an Oklahoma linebacker with a similar story to that of former FSU receiver Corey Surrency, FSU officials released a statement from outgoing FSU president T.K. Wetherell taking on the NCAA -- again.

A judge ruled that the NCAA has to release the documents pertaining to FSU's cheating scandal. Florida State has always been very forthcoming with turning over records to the media when they're asked for and complying with Florida's public records laws. Problem is, in this case the NCAA was tying their hands. And here's what Wetherell had to say about it:

Florida State University has consistently complied with Florida's public records laws and continuously asked the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) to release records sought by the news media in connection with our university's appeal of sanctions in our NCAA infractions case.

Today, a Leon County Circuit Court judge ruled that the two NCAA records sought by the news media are public records. The news media filed the initial lawsuit, and Florida State also filed suit to compel release of those records.

Florida State University has already transcribed one of the NCAA documents and released it to the public in a redacted form (Committee on Infractions Response to FSU Appeal).

The second document is the official transcript made by the NCAA of the Committee on Infractions Hearing of the FSU matter in October 2008 in Indianapolis. The NCAA provided this 350 page transcript to the court this week for an in camera review. The court ruled today that the NCAA should make this transcript available to the public in a redacted form. The NCAA does, however, have the prerogative to appeal the court order.

We understand that because this is a case of first impression there will most likely be further court actions. But we have at all times acted in good faith in attempting to comply with the Florida Public Records Act while adhering to NCAA bylaws.

I cannot accept or believe the statement by an NCAA official that the NCAA would take away the due process rights of a Florida public university because that university must abide by public records law. Nor do I accept the statement made in court by an NCAA representative that FSU (and therefore all Florida public universities) has the option of leaving the NCAA if they want to abide by Florida's public records law.

There will undoubtedly be changes suggested for the NCAA infractions cases and appeals involving public records issues. I will send a letter to Myles Brand, requesting that the NCAA Executive Committee look into this matter as soon as possible because it impacts all Florida public universities that are members of the NCAA.

Statements made by the NCAA continue to disappoint me. It could have resolved this whole crisis long ago by giving us hard copies of the documents the news media had requested.

This has been a long, uncomfortable, drawn-out process that needs to come to an end quickly. Neither FSU nor the NCAA is benefiting from this, and while Wetherell's verbal war with the NCAA is often at times entertaining, I'm guessing Florida State fans would rather be hearing from their football coach and players about what they're doing to beat Miami.