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.
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.