After University of Notre Dame wide receiver DaVaris Daniels was suspended amid an ongoing investigation into academic fraud allegations, his father — a former defensive end in the National Football League — expressed outrage the institution hadn’t updated him on the case.
“I really think as a whole, Notre Dame has handled this really bad man,” said Phillip Daniels, who now serves as the director of player development for an NFL team, according to NBC Sports. “I haven’t heard from the university. As a parent, I haven’t heard from the university.“
Source: NBC Sports, Phillip Daniels feels confident son DaVaris will be cleared (8/18/2014).
Former SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte: If you keep everything secret, sooner or later just by accident you’ll be right about something.
FERPA was never meant to keep parents from seeing who beat up their kids on school buses or who finished first in the weekend swimming meet. Here’s something it was meant to cover: Parents snooping into the academic lives of their adult-aged kids. (Even a parent with 329 career tackles and 62 sacks.)
The statute provides:
For the purposes of this section, whenever a student has attained eighteen years of age, or is attending an institution of postsecondary education the permission or consent required of and the rights accorded to the parents of the student shall thereafter only be required of and accorded to the student.
20 U.S.C. § 1232g(d). In simple English, the right of access to "education records” gets passed from parent to child when the child either turns 18 or enrolls in college. And that means the parent loses the right to obtain grades and other confidential records.
(There’s an exception allowing colleges to release FERPA records to parents if the student is “dependent,” as defined in the IRS code. But being a dependent requires living at home with a parent for at least six months of the year; Daniels’ family doesn’t live in South Bend, Ind., so he wouldn’t qualify.)
It’s possible that Daniels signed a FERPA waiver that enables Notre Dame to talk to his parents; many colleges require a broad privacy waiver in exchange for taking part in intercollegiate athletics. But even then, a college can discuss the student’s private academic matters but isn’t obligated to.
Not that Notre Dame can’t say anything – if the case is about misconduct by employees and not students, then (as a Florida court told us in 2009) records pertaining to that employee dishonesty aren’t protected by FERPA. But Notre Dame legitimately can’t talk to an athlete’s parent about the student’s grades or academic status without written consent.
We rate this: a pretty legitimate use of FERPA