FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Let's go to the videotape

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.   Can the Michigan FOIA be used to obtain the video of a public high school football game, from that high schools athletic department? I am trying to scout an opponent and they are refusing to give me the video of their game.

A.   A public high school is considered a "public body" subject to Michigan's FOIA. Although none of the exemptions enumerated in section 15.243 of the statute strike me as directly applicable to the videotape you seek, I can only speculate that the high school considers the videotape to be confidential to the same extent as its football team's written playbook -- which, if disclosed, would clearly undermine its operations.  It is also possible that the high school considers the videotape to be an "education record" protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  

For further information, you might wish to review the FOIA guidance provided by the Michigan Attorney General's office.