Simon Sues Over Academic Report

Orlando Magic draftee Miles Simon filed a $1 million federal defamation lawsuit, claiming his academic records from the University of Arizona were wrongfully released to a newspaper without his permission.

On Wednesday, Simon sued the University of Arizona, the Kansas City Star and several other defendants, claiming defamation and invasion of privacy for the 1997 article, "MVP Made Grade Only On The Court."

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  • After the article was published, Simon "was held up to public ridicule and his privacy was invaded, and he was humiliated and made to suffer embarrassment," the lawsuit said.

    Simon, who played for Arizona, claims the Oct. 10, 1997 article contained extensive transcript information that never should have been made public, according to the player's attorney, Milton Grimes.

    The lawsuit states an unnamed Arizona university employee gave the Kansas City Star Simon's academic records "without his consent and knowledge."

    Simon, who was named most valuable player in the Arizona Wildcats' national championship game last year, was on academic probation almost his entire playing career, the Star reported.

    But Simon was able to remain eligible because of a series of exceptions Arizona made in its own academic policies, possibly in violation of NCAA policy, the Star said, citing documents obtained during an 18-month investigation.

    The article also said that after sitting out 11 games -- the only playing time he missed for academic reasons -- Simon was able to rejoin the Wildcats for their championship run by getting an A in a class in which every student got an A. It also said Simon received credit as a junior for a class that the course catalog restricted to freshmen.

    Defendants included the Arizona board of regents and univesity president Peter Likins and vice president Michael Gottfredson. There was no answer to calls Wednesday night to the Sierra Vista, Ariz., home of Judy Gignac, regents president. A message left after business hours at the regents' office was not immediately returned. Likins' number was unlisted and a message left at Gottfredson's Tucson, Ariz., home was not returned.

    Star editor Mark Zieman said Wednesday that he had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment.

    Simon also is suing the Star's publisher and the reporter who wrote the article. He also sued the Star's parent company, Knight Ridder Corp. A message left after hours at Knight Ridder was not immediately returned Wednesday.

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