Athletes' unpaid parking tickets recorded in paper


University no longer able to hide behind FERPA





\nMARYLAND - After a three-year battle, records documenting\nparking ticket abuses by University of Maryland student athletes\nare finally in the hands of the student newspaper, The Diamondback.

\nIn December, Maryland's high court ruled that information about\nunpaid parking tickets charged to student athletes and coaches\nas well as NCAA records of related violations must be open to\nthe public.

Soon after receiving the records, The Diamondback ran a\nstory detailing the case and the paper's victory.

Mara Gottfried, editor of The Diamondback, said she was\nextremely satisfied with the outcome of the case. She said the\npaper planned on doing a special article about all of the records\nthey have since received. The university has been cooperative\nin granting the paper's most recent freedom of information requests.

"To my knowledge, we haven't had any requests denied,"\nGottfried said.

The University had refused The Diamondback access to the\nrecords about the student athletes, arguing the records were exempt\nfrom the state open records law because they were "education\nrecords" covered by the Family Education Rights and Privacy\nAct (FERPA), commonly known as the Buckley Amendment.

But the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled otherwise, saying that\nthe education records covered by FERPA did not include records\nof parking tickets or NCAA violations.

Elizabeth Koch, The Diamondback's attorney, said the records\nwere released in two installments because the university originally\nwanted to charge a fee of $800 for searching the archives to retrieve\nthe second set. But in the end, she said, the school backed down\nand handed over the records. \n


reports, Spring 1999