UNC, Butch Davis' lawyer want media bid for records dismissed

dkane@newsobserver.comJuly 17, 2012 

UNC-Chapel Hill officials and a lawyer representing former coach Butch Davis are asking a state judge to dismiss a public records lawsuit by The News & Observer and other media companies, contending all that can be made public in an NCAA investigation related to the football team has been released.

In court documents filed Tuesday, Davis' lawyer, Jon Sasser, said that records of the former coach's calls on his private cell phone are not public because Davis was not a public official in the eyes of the public records law, and that the phone records were not created in the course of public business.

Sasser said making the records public could "open a Pandora's Box of unintended consequences."

"Hundreds of bright, imaginative Duke students huddling in their tents in Krzyzewskiville would suddenly have the legal ability to bring the athletic departments at UNC and NCSU to a standstill," Sasser wrote. "Three students could ask for all of (N.C. State University football coach) Tom O'Brien's playbooks, game films and practice videos."

In supporting statements, Davis and his wife say releasing the cell phone bills would make public the phone numbers of prominent people who are not connected to the NCAA investigation. Among them: former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

State Superior Court Judge Howard Manning will conduct a hearing Thursday regarding the public records lawsuit.

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