Judge rules NCAA can withhold bulk of documents sought in Todd McNair lawsuit


A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ruled that the “vast majority” of 1,237 internal emails and other documents the NCAA wants to redact or withhold in former USC assistant coach Todd McNair’s lawsuit against the organization should remain private.

Judge Frederick Shaller reviewed the documents in question before issuing an eight-page ruling late last week.

“Within the documents that were reviewed there was no information about the actual investigation of Plaintiff, the substance of the thought processes of the persons on the [NCAA’s Committee on Infractions], tentative rulings, or anything the court founds to be material to the decision against Mr. McNair,” Shaller wrote.


The judge said the cache includes information related to “procedures, calendaring of meetings, training sessions in general, discussions about the appeal, timing of the appeal, and minutes of meetings that are generated by counsel pertaining to the processing of the decision and appeal.”

Attorneys for McNair filed a motion last month to compel the NCAA to produce many of the documents. The trial in the case is scheduled to start next week.

McNair sued the NCAA for defamation in 2011 after the organization’s infractions committee sanctioned him for “unethical conduct” in the extra benefits scandal involving former USC running back Reggie Bush.

Shaller ruled that 10 documents the NCAA withheld and 37 documents it redacted aren’t covered by attorney-client or work-product privilege and must be turned over to McNair’s attorneys.

The 10 documents include a series of emails in 2006 from Rachel Newman, then part of the NCAA’s enforcement staff, to enforcement and media relations staffers. The contents of the emails aren’t known.

Shaller, whom the NCAA unsuccessfully attempted to have removed from the case in 2016, said the bulk of the documents sought aren’t connected to McNair.


“Many of the materials relate to investigations, reports, or emails pertaining to other schools or coaches, but these are clearly not relevant to any issue in this case,” the judge wrote.

Twitter: @nathanfenno