Michigan State University filed a lawsuit against ESPN earlier this week following the network’s Freedom of Information Act request for police reports of alleged sexual assaults by three of the school’s football players, Matt Mencarini of the Lansing State Journal reports.
MSU is arguing that it was put in an “impossible position” as Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon’s office “asked the university to withhold the records and ESPN asked for them to be released,” per Mencarini.
On February 10, the Worldwide Leader filed an FOIA request seeking all police reports containing allegations of sexual assault since December 10, 2016, which the school partially granted with some of the documents, according to the report. However, ESPN wasn’t given all of the requested documentation as the prosecutor’s office had yet to decide if it wanted to issue charges relating to them, according to Mencarini.
Back in February, MSU suspended three unnamed football players following the announcement that the school was investigating sexual assault allegations reported in January, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The incident in question occurred on campus around 2:00 A.M. on January 16 at the University Village Apartments, the woman’s attorney confirmed in March. It was reported to police the following day. Siemon’s office has not announced a decision in the case.
Around the time of the suspension, MSU spokesman Jason Cody released a statement saying that the school would “take prompt action, if appropriate, in response to any policy violations or other substantive matters as a result of the investigation.”
ESPN reporter Paula Lavigne said in a phone call with Cody last month that the network had won an open records lawsuit against the school as recently as 2015 and was willing to go to court yet again.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and served as a model for land-grant universities later created under the Morrill Act of 1862.
The school has a total enrollment of 50,344 students.