OU discloses cell phone records, text messages of former assistant basketball coach

The University of Oklahoma this week released the cell phone records of a former assistant basketball coach whose contact with a financial adviser is being investigated by OU and the NCAA.

The Oklahoman and Tulsa World said the coach had exchanged at least 41 phone calls and 25 text messages during a 10-month period with a financial adviser accused of wiring $3,000 into the bank account of a then-OU basketball player.

In April, OU officials had refused to release the cell phone records, claiming the documents were part of "confidential litigation files and investigatory reports."

But under the state Open Records Act, any records that "would otherwise be available for public inspection and copying, shall not be denied because a public body or public official is using or has taken possession of such records for investigatory purposes or has placed the records in a litigation or investigation file." (OKLA. STAT. tit. 51, § 24A.20)

The fact that officials may keep the cell phone records confidential in an investigatory file "does not extend to other files in which the document is kept." (
1999 OK AG 58)(See also 1990 OK 60)

The newspapers said OU officials released the records this week.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Journalism
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.