McNair sued the NCAA for defamation in 2011 after he was let go by the Trojans in connection with the fallout from the NCAA's investigation of former USC running back Reggie Bush.
In 2012, a judge called the NCAA's investigation of McNair "malicious," and said that emails between three NCAA employees showed "ill will" or "hatred" toward McNair.
As a result of the investigation, McNair was given a one-year show-cause penalty, which prohibited him from having contact with recruits. USC was hit with a two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions.
The NCAA argued that the documents should be sealed because confidentiality is a crucial factor in its investigations, since the organization lacks the power of subpoena. The court rejected that argument but the records will not be immediately unsealed because the NCAA still has the right to appeal the ruling.
"We are not convinced by the NCAA’s contention that public disclosure of its documents will make future investigations more difficult for the NCAA to conduct," the court ruled.
McNair played in the NFL from 1989 to 1996. He was the running backs coach for the Cleveland Brown's from 2001 to 2003 and joined USC in 2004. His contract was not renewed after it expired in 2010.
- Dan Gartland