Court grants access to coach's letters of reprimand

MICHIGAN — The Washtenaw County Circuit Court ruled in June that the University of Michigan must release records concerning an internal investigation of the school basketball program, including letters of reprimand from the university to a coach.

The court ruled in Herald Co. v. University of Michigan, No. 97-8533-CZ (Mich. Cir. Ct. June 12, 1997), that under the state open records law the university had to release a letter of reprimand to the Ann Arbor News concerning basketball coach Steve Fisher, as well as other documents related to the investigation.

Fisher was reprimanded for his failure to report incidents of a school booster offering plane tickets and an apartment to student athletes.

The booster’s offers to the athletes, if they had been accepted, would have violated NCAA regulations.

An investigation of the university basketball program initiated the suit. The investigation began when several basketball players were involved in an automobile accident in February 1996.

The Ann Arbor News requested all written communication concerning the investigation, which included the reprimand letter to Fisher.

Jonathan Rowe, attorney for the News, said the university is not planning to appeal the decision.