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Was a law broken by breaking this story?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SockPuppet, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    The ABC affiliate in Dallas has been reporting this story for the last year. It nailed South Oak Cliff's basketball team for playing ineligible players and it cost the school its state championship (2006, I believe). The station Thursday night ran another story about more grade changes with the 2005 team (involving current Baylor player Kevin Rogers and former Kansas player Darrell Arthur). The story had video showing copies of the grade cards with the grade changes.

    A student's grades can only be released if a family member or the student signs a release. If the grade info was given to a media outlet by a (disgruntled?) faculty member, that person was breaking the law.

    If that's the case and a law was broken, can a media outlet be complicit, an accessory in the breaking of that law?

    If the media outlet has vetted this with their lawyers so they're not breaking a law, shouldn't there be some mention (in general) how the grades were obtained and why it is legal to make them public?
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    No, the station can't be prosecuted.


    Unless the station got the grades illegally, which isn't the same as someone giving a reporter the info illegally, the media outlet is off the hook.
  3. Law, shmaw. If someone is falsifying school records to allow a student to meet eligibility requirements for athletic programs, they should be exposed. Why is that different from student hackers changing their own GPAs? Remember the Florida State University fudging fiasco? Personally, I think athletics should take a back-seat to academics. 'Course this is from a non-athlete (unless you count ping-pong), who graduated from a high school with stationary that proclaimed "Where the library is larger than the gymnasium." So take it "Cum Grano Salis."
  4. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    I brought up the Florida Star deal (and the ensuring court case) in a conversation lately. Essentially, here's a good way to look at it.
    Most states have laws that state that non-public information ranging from the minor to major brings reprecussions if it is printed. However, the Supreme Court has already shown that as long as the information is attained legally (a paper can't break into an office to get it), they can't be prosecuted unless it's a matter of national security. Darrell Arthur's grades probably don't qualify.
  5. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    The ABC affiliate in Dallas is owned by Belo.

    Not that this has to do with anything.

    Just an interesting note.
  6. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    So it's illegal for someone to give out the information but it's not illegal for a media outlet to receive it.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Is that Latin for, "Finish on her grille"?
  8. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    I see some parallels to the Bonds/Game of Shadows case-- with the publishing of the grand jury transcripts.

    And in that case, we had many members of SportsJournalists.com siding against the journalists.

    We have a lot of law-and-order types around here.

    I'm not one of them.
  9. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    I get Lugnuts' point about GOS, but the debate there was whether those reporters allowed themselves to be used by the leakers in order to bias the case.
  10. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    That was the more sophisticated argument.

    But many here said simply that it was illegal to reveal the transcripts, and that Williams and F-W were "accessories to the crime" by publishing the transcripts.
  11. It's too bad your high school library wasn't big enough to include the word "stationery" somewhere in the reference section. ;)
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