by Max Brantley
An old pet peeve: How colleges reflexively cite the so-called Buckley Amendment to keep from releasing almost anything meaningful related to college students, particularly if they play sports. Interesting article here on a careful look by a newspaper at how the law is used and abused. It includes a rare interview with the former senator, James Buckley, who wrote the law.
Of the 69 schools that provided information:
• More than 80 percent released unedited information from ticket lists.
• About half did not censor flight manifests.
• Twenty percent gave full information about summer jobs held by football players.
• Ten percent provided unedited NCAA violations.
The results stunned Buckley, a retired federal judge from Connecticut who, as a U.S. senator, crafted the law to shield students' report cards and transcripts. He can't understand why any information about athletes would be withheld.
"Those examples provide zero harm to the kids," he said.
Report cards and transcripts. Period.
Many violations across the country remain unknown to fans, faculty members and the public, diminishing accountability at a time when an NCAA study shows that schools are increasingly using more general-fund money, sometimes including state tax dollars, to pay for athletics as higher-education costs soar.
"Things have gone wild," Buckley said. "These are ridiculous extensions. One likes to think common sense would come into play. Clearly, these days, it isn't true."
A Morning News blogger is onto this in connection with recent Patrick Beverley cheating reports, but it's by no means the only Arkansas collegiate situation in which the law has been stretched in favor of secrecy.