Ask the FERPA Professor

October 2, 2023
  • FERPA Professor
  • FERPATop
cartoon figure reminiscent of Einstein stands in front of a chalkboard with the board "FERPA" written on it

Dear FERPA Professor, 

I am working through some logistics related to athletic eligibility and would like your guidance.

Historically, we do not release transcripts from other institutions.  The reasons are twofold…first, it is not our record to release.  Second, we do not know if the issuing institution has a hold preventing the student from obtaining the transcript and if we release it, we have overridden the other school’s hold.

The question is now surfacing regarding those transcripts and whether or not we can release them to our coaches in order for those coaches to certify athletic eligibility.  I spoke with the Department of Education this morning and was advised that FERPA does not provide specific guidance when it comes to releasing transcripts from other institutions for purposes of athletic eligibility.

Is providing copies of transcripts from other institutions to coaches for purposes of athletic eligibility an acceptable practice? 

Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Ms. Drew

Dear Ms. Drew,

The transcripts could be shared with the coaches under § 99.31(a)(1) of the FERPA regulations.  This is the "school official" at the institution who have been determined to have a "legitimate educational interest" in accessing the education record.  Determining athletic eligibility would fit in this instance.

I hope this is helpful in answering your questions.  You can find the above cited regulation on page 159 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.

The FERPA Professor

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