Kentucky attorney general rules h.s. athletic association must turn over records

The Kentucky High School Athletics Association, the governing body of state interscholastic activities, is a public body subject to state open-records laws, the Kentucky attorney general ruled this month.

On two occasions this year, KHSAA denied requests by Dennis Foust, a resident of Kentucky, for correspondence between high school athletic directors and the Kentucky High School Athletics Association regarding a basketball tournament seeding. Foust appealed to the attorney general for a ruling.

In a decision released Dec. 21, Assistant Attorney General James Ringo said the association is a public agency and must comply with the open-records law.

“Although the KHSAA was originally created as a private, voluntary, unincorporated association, it assumed a public character as a policy making board” when it began managing interscholastic athletics in state schools, Ringo wrote.

The association can appeal the ruling in court, but KHSAA commissioner Brigid DeVries said she does not know if the association will do so.

Attorney General Greg Stumbo said in a statement he believed the state legislature intended for the association to be open.

“The actions of the KHSAA have a huge effect on the lives of student athletes, and it is in the public interest that the KHSAA’s actions be transparent and open to the public,” he said.

SPLC View: This is a good ruling for student media