ESPN vs. Notre Dame case reaches highest level

Staff reports
ND Insider

INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Notre Dame wrongly denied ESPN's request for campus police records that should be subject to the same public scrutiny as those of other police departments, an attorney told the Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Just like other police agencies, Notre Dame Security Police carry guns, investigate crimes and arrest suspects, both on and off campus, attorney Maggie Smith said. The difference is "Notre Dame wants to keep all its records secret," said Smith, representing the Connecticut-based sports media company.

ESPN in 2014 sought campus police records from Notre Dame for cases involving student athletes. The university refused the request, citing its status as a private university, and the sports media company sued.

An Indiana appeals court ruled in March that Notre Dame's police department is a public agency and subject to Indiana's open records laws, rejecting the university's arguments that its police records should remain closed. The university appealed the ruling to the state's high court.

The arguments were heard Tuesday in a courtroom at the Indiana State House. There is no time table for when a decision in the case will be announced.

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South Bend Tribune file photo