University of California Offers Odd Defense of Delays in Release of Public Documents on Football Player Ted Agu’s Death

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by Irvin Muchnick


The University of California-Berkeley has spent what soon will be a majority of 2016 giving Concussion Inc. shifting projections of dates for release of internal documents relating to the 2014 death of Golden Bears football player Ted Agu. This period follows the conclusion of litigation by the Agu family, which resulted in an admission of liability by the university and a $4.75 million settlement.

And evidently, the president of the nine-campus UC system, Janet Napolitano, thinks the delays are just fine.

In an email this week, Napolitano aide Dan Scannell, of the general counsel’s office, told me he “confirms” that “Berkeley is in compliance with public records law, and is providing records in a timely manner given their resources.”

In support, Scannell cited a 1997 California Public Records Act case called Motorola v. Department of General Services, which the legal experts with whom we have consulted say has approximately zero bearing on the issue of the delays in Cal’s production here. In Motorola, the requester sued the day after the public agency said it would produce records and the day before the records were going to be produced; I have waited months. (The core appellate dispute in Motorola was not over release of documents, but rather over which side had “prevailed,” and whether the plaintiff was entitled to recovery of attorney fees after suing.)

In an odd aside, Scannell also wrote, “Please note that each campus has a CPRA office that operates independently of the UC Office of the President, and each campus CPRA office has varying staff levels to process the increasingly complex CPRA caseload. UCB only has one staff person to manage all of their CPRA requests.”

Once again, I don’t think this tidbit ably defends the university’s continued concealment of Agu-related records. The paltry level of staffing for requests vital to institutional transparency, in proportion to the numbers employed in public relations and image-shaping, is only part of it. Consider that the family’s lawsuit — obviously — named the UC regents, ultimate governance authority of the Berkeley campus. The settlement’s background and rationale were never publicly exposed, because the regents manipulated their approval of it into an “interim” agenda item, in executive session, in between public meetings.

President Napolitano expresses no misgivings over this contradiction. I doubt the courts would agree.


“eBook Bonus: Introduction to ‘Ted Agu Papers,’ Cal Football Death Cover-Up,”

“Table of Contents of the New eBook ‘TED AGU PAPERS’,”

Amazon Kindle link:

“Explainer: How ‘Insider’ Access Made San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley J-School Miss Real Story Behind Death of Cal Football’s Ted Agu,”

Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series:

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick