Court denies NCAA motion for a stay

Updated: October 27, 2009, 5:13 PM ET
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The NCAA's bid to delay a court order to release its records on academic cheating at Florida State was rejected Tuesday by the Florida Supreme Court.

In a terse one-sentence order, the high court denied the NCAA's emergency motion. However, that decision does not preclude them from considering the merits of the case later.

Attorneys for the NCAA provided the records to a Tallahassee law firm to prepare for release, although they aren't expected to vary much from documents already made public by Florida State. The school released copies earlier this month from "screen shots" of documents posted on a secure, read-only Web site, but not the originals.

The Associated Press and other media sought immediate release after an appellate court on Oct. 13 upheld an earlier ruling that the documents are public records. A circuit judge last week ordered the NCAA to release the documents by 2 p.m. Wednesday unless it could win a stay.

The AP sued to get the records on the college athletics governing body's plan to strip coaches and athletes of wins in 10 sports.

Longtime football coach Bobby Bowden stands to lose 14 victories that would make it difficult for him to overtake Penn State's Joe Paterno in their race to be major college football's winningest coach. Paterno now leads with 390 victories to 385 for Bowden, who hopes to hang on long enough to reach 400.

"We thought it was an important case to take in the first place and we're certainly happy with every step of the way so far," media attorney Carol Jean LoCicero said Tuesday.

"We feel strongly that our private information should not be subject to public records laws," NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said Tuesday. "This question still remains under review by the Florida Supreme Court and the NCAA will continue to seek all available remedies to protect this important principle."

The records involve meetings between Florida State officials and the NCAA, which said 61 Seminoles athletes, including 25 football players, cheated on an online test in a music history course from the fall of 2006 through summer 2007 or received improper help from staffers who provided them with answers to the exam and typed papers for them.

In response to a question during an October 2008 meeting with the NCAA, former Florida State academic adviser Brenda Monk said one athlete that she helped had an IQ of 60 and that at least one athlete couldn't read.

Florida State, which self-reported the violations to the NCAA, accepted self-imposed penalties including loss of scholarships and player suspensions.

But the NCAA's intent to take away wins and individual records prompted Florida State president T.K. Wetherell to fight that part of the penalty.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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