Obviously, you’ve heard that Max Bullough has been suspended for the rest of the season.
This is the only statement that MSU has made regarding the Max Bullough Rose Bowl suspension. As explained below, it is likely going to be the only thing they say publicly on the issue (I left the formatting the way it was sent to the media):
Statement from Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio on suspension of Max Bullough:
“Max Bullough has been suspended for the remainder of the season for a violation of team rules. It is extremely disappointing for all parties involved. We will stay focused and close ranks as we prepare for Stanford on January 1 in the Rose Bowl. Max will forever remain a Spartan and valued member in this team’s achievements.
“We will have no further comment on this issue.”
Why will this likely be the only public statement from MSU on the issue, you ask?
5 letters: F. E. R. P. A.
FERPA (FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT) is a Federal law that is administered by the Family Policy Compliance Office in the US Department of Education (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).
I tried reading through it and my eyes started to glaze over after a few pages. I skipped around and read some of the important parts.
Some things to know include the fact that FERPA applies to all educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under any program administered by the US Department Department of Education. Obviously, MSU falls in that category.
Once Max Bullough enrolled at MSU, he became an “eligible student” and all rights formerly given to his parents under FERPA transferred to him. Under FERPA, Bullough’s rights include – among others – the right to have control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from his education records. There are certain circumstances specified in the FERPA regulations that allow nonconsensual disclosure, none of which I could determine come in to play here.
By the way, the term “education records” is defined as “those records that contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.”
So, it is very likely that the only way MSU fans will know more about what caused its star linebacker and captain of the team to be suspended is if Bullough himself agrees to share that information. Don’t believe the unsubstantiated rumors that have started already. Believe me, there are folks like myself (and real reporters) who are trying to find someone willing to discuss this situation. It’s not likely to be from an official at MSU, though, because of the FERPA regulations.
For what it’s worth, here is the last time I spoke with Max, in the locker room in Indianapolis, following MSU’s Big Ten Championship victory over Ohio State. It’s in two parts because of a long-winded question from the reporter next to me…