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Four Big East schools file lawsuit against Boston College, ACC

Published October 14, 2003

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Officials from four Big East football
schools approved a lawsuit Monday against Boston College, its
athletic director and four Atlantic Coast Conference officials,
state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said.

The suit, filed yesterday in Vernon Superior Court, alleges that
the ACC and Boston College conspired to weaken the Big East. Boston
College announced Sunday that it would follow the University of
Miami and Virginia Tech, which are leaving the Big East to join the
ACC.

"We just got off a conference call," Blumenthal said early
Monday evening. "All the presidents have authorized this
lawsuit."

The suit names Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo,
ACC Commissioner John Swofford, ACC President Carolyn Callahan, ACC
Vice President Donn Ward and ACC Treasurer Cecil Huey, Blumenthal
said.

Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and West Virginia already are
suing Miami. A judge last week threw out a case against the ACC on
jurisdictional grounds.

"I suspect the same will happen to those of us who, by virtue of
our rotation, happen to be officers," Ward said. "And I suspect the
people of Connecticut want their attorney general to chase far more
important issues."

The case against the ACC was thrown out because attorneys could
not prove the conference did enough business in Connecticut to
warrant a state suit. By suing the conference directors as
individuals, Big East schools hope they can get around the
jurisdiction issue.

"We are not required to show they are transacting business,"
Blumenthal said. "If they have violated the law and have damaged
Connecticut or its citizens, they can be sued."

Messages seeking comment were left at the homes and offices of
the other school and conference officials. Hugh Keefe, an attorney
who represented the ACC, did not return a page.

Miami and Virginia Tech will join the ACC next year. Boston
College might not change conferences until 2006.

The suit makes several tort claims, including unfair trade
practices, civil conspiracy and breach of contract, Blumenthal
said. As in the suit against Miami, the Big East schools seek
unspecified damages.

The suit singles out DeFilippo for allegedly using his role as a
conference director with Big East to manipulate discussions between
BC, Miami and the ACC, Blumenthal said.

"One of the key reasons that BC and DeFilippo were able to
engage in this secret scheme with Miami and the ACC is that they
had access to sensitive and confidential information from the Big
East and its member schools," Blumenthal said.

He said Boston College's defection strengthened the case.

"The more we learn, the more appalled and astonished we are by
the depth and breadth of the illegality," Blumenthal said.

No Mo' lawsuit: COLUMBUS (AP) - An attorney for Maurice Clarett
clarified Monday that Clarett is not suing Ohio State, but rather
is asking that the school be held in contempt of court for
violating Clarett's student privacy rights and be ordered to pay
him at least $2.5 million, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported
yesterday.

"I want to make clear that we didn't sue the university," Percy
Squire told the paper by telephone.

Squire told the paper that he filed a motion, and an
accompanying complaint, on Friday, in which he claims Ohio State
committed a "deliberate, calculated and malicious violation" of a
permanent injunction issued in 2000 by a U.S. District Court that
prohibits universities from releasing "student disciplinary
records" or any "personally identifiable information" about a
student.

According to the report, Ohio State was a defendant in that case
in which a judge ruled disciplinary records are considered
educational records protected by the Family Educational Rights and
Privacy Act (FERPA).

Clarett is accused of filing an exaggerated theft report with
campus police in April after a dealership's car he was borrowing
was broken into. Clarett has pleaded innocent to one count of
falsification, a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months
in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Squire claims the university obtained information about that
theft report during the course of an NCAA investigation into
possible eligibility violations and then turned that information
over to city prosecutors.

According to the report, Squire is asking the court to prevent
that information from being used against Clarett because it was
provided illegally.

"I don't think it's fair for Mr. Clarett to go down and face
criminal charges for evidence that was in violation of a court
order," Squire said.

On Saturday, a university attorney called the federal action
"procedurally irregular" and "misguided," because the school hasn't
had time to respond to a county complaint filed last month seeking
information to help determine if Clarett should sue.

Squire claims that Clarett could suffer significant economic
harm if the school's disciplinary records are allowed to be used in
the criminal case.