ESPN asks for release of OSU records

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- ESPN has sued Ohio State University, alleging the school violated state public records law by denying requests for items related to an NCAA investigation that led to the departures of football coach Jim Tressel and star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

The lawsuit filed Monday in the Ohio Supreme Court asks justices to order the university to release the records and pay attorney fees and court costs. Among records sought are correspondences referring to Ted Sarniak, reportedly a mentor of Pryor in his hometown Jeannette, Pa.

Tressel learned in April 2010 that some players had sold memorabilia to local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife in violation of NCAA rules. Tressel did not tell his superiors what he knew, instead forwarding an email with that information to Sarniak.

Even though compelled to tell his superiors, the NCAA or his school's compliance department about any knowledge of violations, Tressel did not surrender that information until confronted by investigators in January of 2011.

Among its arguments, ESPN says the university cited an inapplicable federal student-records privacy law in denying records.

"Our newsgathering operation is asking the court's assistance in a standard public-records request," ESPN said in a statement released Tuesday.

Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch says the university believes it has followed applicable law. He says ESPN has received a "voluminous amount" of information.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.