A new development in the ongoing Todd McNair lawsuit against the NCAA has put this story–and the anguish it caused many in the Trojan family–back at the forefront of conversation: The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have filed an application with the California Court of Appeals asking to unseal the court records in the Todd McNair vs. NCAA case, according to Rivals.com.
Acting on behalf of the two media organizations, the law firm of Davis, Wright Tremaine–considered the nation’s top media law practice–filed both its request to intervene as well as more than 7,000-word, 227-page argument. Their file included “extensive exhibits” to support their claim for unsealing the documents, including 18 “pertinent” articles involving USC, McNair and the NCAA, and 29 federal and state law precedents that these new lawyers argue show that there none of the material filed with the court in this case should be prohibited from public records.
The attorneys for both Times summarize that the NCAA filed an extraordinarily overbroad and improper sealing motion in this Court, but that it cannot satisfy the five-part test required to keep documents sealed and confidential.
“The NCAA’s remarkable bid for secrecy comes in a case of substantial public interest.” They also point out that “the NCAA delayed until the last possible day to file its brief on appeal — even to the point that this Court warned that the apeal might be dismissed if the NCAA did not file an Opening Brief by June 5 — meaning that the records relied on by the trial court have been kept under seal for more than six months.”
Because California law has a precedence that “public policy requires public records to be available for public inspection to prevent secrecy in public affairs,” at face value, it seems as if the NY and LA Times have a strong case against the NCAA for wanting secrecy in a case that does not require it.
The motion to intervene was filed on Monday, and can be viewed in its entirety here.