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Posted on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 6 p.m.

Lawsuit: University of Michigan closed session reportedly called to discuss NCAA probe illegal

By Juliana Keeping

University of Michigan says meeting was appropriate

"Thanks again and Go BLUE!", wrote University of Michigan alumnus Robert Davis, after requesting the minutes to a closed special session, reportedly called by the school's Board of Regents to discuss an NCAA probe into its football program.

In an equally polite response, he was told that that minutes to the 8 a.m. session on Feb. 3 didn't exist.

Davis sued the U-M Board of Regents in Washtenaw County Circuit Court on Feb. 18, alleging violations of the Michigan Open Meetings Act, the law that spells out circumstances under which public bodies can hold closed meetings.


From left: U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and football Head Coach Rich Rodriguez listened while Athletic Director David Brandon spoke during the Michigan NCAA media briefing on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Angela J. Cesere |

This wasn't one of them, the suit says.

Reached Wednesday, Davis said that the notice of allegations announced Tuesday by U-M officials outlining five alleged major NCAA violations doesn't change the course he's taken.

"The regents revealing the NCAA probe does not stop the intent behind the lawsuit - to have them to reveal the minutes of the meeting and to ensure that those type of meetings do not happen again."

Davis, 30, is described in the lawsuit as a former law clerk intern to a Michigan Supreme Court justice and a Wayne County elected official. The Highland Park School Board member lives in Parma and works as a union staff representative, he said.

University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald defended the closed session in question.

"We are confident the Board of Regents has been meeting appropriately," Fitzgerald wrote in an e-mail.

Davis said he has been "very successful" in winning open meetings cases against "a few" different municipalities in Wayne County, but wouldn't say which ones.

Subpoenas of top university officials are forthcoming, he said. Carl Marlinga, the former Macomb County Prosecutor who is currently running for State Senate, has recently joined his legal team, Davis said.

Juliana Keeping covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Thu, Feb 25, 2010 : 5:56 a.m.

How many of you know that the Regents meet routinely for lunch at a private residence each month before their official public meeting? All true deliberations of decisions occur at these private meetings and that is why they can vote without public discussions. It is not true that they can meet as long as they don't "make a decision" since the Open Meetings Act includes meetings where deliberations occur. The OMA was intended so that the public could witness the deliberations and even address the officials before decisions were made. Of course the meeting regarding the NCAA investigation was a violation of the OMA but the even bigger problem is that the Regents regularly violate the Act and make decisions out of public view.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 9:11 p.m.

I think RR also stated that he was "confident" that there were no violations when the violations were initially revealed.

David Briegel

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 7:43 p.m.

They are just as dishonest in this instance as they are in the matter they discussed. Public indeed! Public be damned!!

Thick Candy Shell

Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 7:30 p.m.

@shawnsbrain, if they didn't meet to make a decision it would be a non violation.


Wed, Feb 24, 2010 : 7:03 p.m.

I guess if it wasn't written down or recorded, it doesn't exist. Sounds like a cover up and smells like a rat!!