August 21, 2009 9:22:00 AM
A judge''s ruling Thursday that NCAA documents in an infractions case against Florida State are public records under state law could impact the investigation into Mississippi State basketball signee Renardo Sidney.
Donald Jackson, the attorney for Sidney, found interesting issues with confidentiality and due process in the Florida case.
Jackson has been concerned about the tactics of the NCAA Eligibility Center in the evaluation process of Sidney, who is attempting to have issues about his status as an amateur resolved so he can compete for the Bulldogs this season.
In an article published by tallahassee.com on Thursday, Florida State General Counsel Betty Steffens said in testimony she balked when presented with a confidentially agreement by the NCAA, required before viewing documents on a secured computer.
"(Steffens) refused to sign a confidentiality agreement for essentially the same reason I did in the Sidney case," Jackson said.
Jackson said it was also notable that NCAA Vice President David Berst referred to due process protections that were afforded to Florida State.
"In prior cases, the NCAA has historically taken the position that due process is not required," Jackson said. "It has been my position all along that this inquiry violates constitutionally protected rights."
Jackson plans to make the argument that if Florida State is entitled to due process protection, why would Renardo Sidney, the Sidney family, third-party witnesses, and grandparents not be entitled to similar protection.
Sidney cleared one hurdle earlier this week when the NCAA cleared him academically and he enrolled in classes at MSU.
The NCAA Eligibility Center has asked for and is awaiting documentation from the Sidney family to make a determination on his amateur status.