How Colleges Use FERPA to Keep Athletics Secrets

June 1, 2009

A six-month investigation by The Columbus Dispatch has found that colleges and universities use "wildly different legal interpretations" of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to deny access to information about athletics programs. The newspaper sent colleges with big-time athletics programs similar requests for information and found wide variation in what institutions provided, with FERPA commonly cited to avoid providing information commonly released by other institutions. Even within the same state, the newspaper found inconsistent interpretations. The newspaper also interviewed James Buckley, the one-time U.S. senator who wrote the law, and found that he was "stunned" at the way athletics programs are citing the measure to keep information secret.

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