Paper cries foul, wants records related to firing of Indiana U. basketball coach

Lawsuit says statute requires school to release information about Bob Knight's dismissal

INDIANA -- An Indianapolis newspaper filed a lawsuit in October against Indiana University, claiming that the school violated the state's open-records law by refusing to release detailed information related to the firing of longtime basketball coach Bob Knight.

In Marion Superior Court, The Indianapolis Star argued that because Indiana University is a public institution it should be required to disclose all information leading to Knight's dismissal, which was provoked by what the university called "a pattern of unacceptable behavior."

Knight, who won three NCAA men's basketball championships during his tenure at Indiana University, has been the subject of criticism for his legendary temper both on and off the court.

University officials said they withheld information relating to his dismissal on the advice of the state's public access counselor.

"We've complied with the law in all respects," said Susan Dillman, a university spokeswoman. "We plan to defend this lawsuit vigorously."

The Star's lawsuit is not the first filed against the university for holding back information. A group of alumni and citizens also sued the trustees for violating IndianaĆ­s open-meetings law in October.

That lawsuit claims the trustees purposely avoided having meetings large enough to be deemed "meetings" when discussing Knight's dismissal in order to subvert the open-meetings law.

The trustees had two four-person conversations, which allowed them to keep it behind closed doors. Under the law, meetings with five or more officials must be open to the public.

reports, Winter 2000-01