NCAA asks for doc­u­ments in Mary­land case to be sealed

The re­quest is made in re­sponse to a suit filed by the fam­ily of a foot­ball player who died in 2011.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Nathan Fenno nathan.fenno@la­times.com

Al­most four months af­ter a Cal­i­for­nia ap­peals court ruled that the NCAA couldn’t seal hun­dreds of pages of doc­u­ments in a law­suit by former USC run­ning backs coach Todd McNair, the or­ga­ni­za­tion is at­tempt­ing to do the same thing in another case in Mary­land.

Last month, the NCAA asked a Mont­gomery County Cir­cuit Court judge to seal 14 doc­u­ments in a wrong­ful-death law­suit filed by the fam­ily of the late Frost­burg State Univer­sity foot­ball player Derek Sheely.

The in­ter­nal emails, memos and meet­ing min­utes in ques­tion deal with the NCAA’s re­sponse to con­cus­sions, in­clud­ing re­search and pro­posed rule changes.

In court doc­u­ments, the NCAA said that al­low­ing the doc­u­ments to be pub­lic “would have a chill­ing ef­fect on the can­did and frank de­bate nec­es­sary to en­sure a thought­ful process” and “may be harm­ful to the NCAA’s le­git­i­mate busi­ness in­ter­ests.”

Dis­clos­ing the doc­u­ments could dam­age “stu­dent health and safety” if “picked up by the me­dia,” the NCAA said in the doc­u­ments.

At­tor­neys for the Sheely fam­ily as­sailed the NCAA’s re­quest in a re­sponse filed last week.

“Dis­tilled to its essence, the real in­ter­est the NCAA seeks to pro­tect is its own — from em­bar­rass­ment and shame,” the fil­ing said.

The NCAA didn’t re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

The Mary­land judge hasn’t ruled on the NCAA’s re­quest.

Sheely, a full­back at the Di­vi­sion III school in Frost­burg, Md., col­lapsed dur­ing a pre­sea­son prac­tice in 2011 and later died from a brain in­jury. In 2013, his fam­ily sued the NCAA along with two coaches and an ath­letic trainer from the univer­sity.

The case is sched­uled for trial in Septem­ber.

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