While petitioner Milkovich was a high school wrestling coach, his team was involved in an altercation at a match with another high school's team. Both he and School Superintendent Scott testified at an investigatory hearing before the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), which placed the team on probation. They testified again during a suit by several parents, in which a county court overturned OHSAA's ruling. The day after the court's decision, respondent Lorain Journal Company's newspaper published a column authored by respondent Diadiun, which implied that Milkovich lied under oath in the judicial proceeding. Milkovich commenced a defamation action against respondents in the county court, alleging that the column accused him of committing the crime of perjury, damaged him in his occupation of teacher and coach, and constituted libel per se.

READ MORE