Former Arizona athlete pursues newspaper, school

CALIFORNIA — An investigative article outlining one student-athlete’s smooth athletic college career, despite stormy weather in the form of bad grades, has landed The Kansas City Star and the University of Arizona in a Los Angeles federal court.

Miles Simon, filed a $1 million lawsuit in October against the Star and his former school because of a 1997 article he says defamed him and invaded his privacy. Once an Arizona basketball point guard, Simon is a member of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

The article, “Bending the rules to win: MVP made grade only on court,” looked at the college scholastic and basketball careers of Simon. The piece revealed Simon’s grades and contended he was wriggling through academic loopholes at the University.

Because of the article, Simon states in the lawsuit that he was “held up to public ridicule and his privacy was invaded, and he was humiliated.” The lawsuit also states that an unnamed school employee released Simon’s grades to the Star, which he contends violates the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment. FERPA creates potential penalties for schools that release a student’s education records, such as grades.

Department of Education spokesman Jim Bradshaw told the Arizona Daily Wildcat in June that the DOE was not at that time “investigating the University of Arizona in conjunction with any violation of FERPA.”