My new book, ‘Shamateurism,’ will be coming out in October. It focuses on a new assessment of the big-time college player as an employee.
Two weeks ago I wrote about the new 2016 Michigan-Nike contract, which sells to Nike the data accumulated from Michigan athletes equipped with ‘wearable tech’ provided by Nike. (Scroll below, or link to ‘Michigan-Nike Contract: the School Seizes and Sells New Player Data.‘) New York Times Marc Tracy picked up on my story, contacted me, and then wrote his article published in the Times Sports section on Sept. 11, entitled, ‘With Wearable Tech Deals, New Player Data is Up for Grabs.‘ [Matt Kish of Portland (Oregon) Biz Journal maintains an excellent searchable data base of most school apparel contracts here.]
Two days ago, I filed a Freedom of Information Request with the University of Michigan, seeking production of the data which has thus far been accumulated. Both my request, and the body of data sold to Nike by Michigan, are limited to ‘de-identified,’ aggregated data. My FOIA request is copied below:
Sept. 9. 2016
University of Michigan FOIA Officer
Ann Arbor Mi 48104
Under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act § 15.231 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records that exist arising out of the 34-page March 16, 2016 contract entered into between the University of Michigan and Nike, specifically, any “Activity Based Information”, including “performance and/or activity information/data digitally collected from the teams or team members during competition, training or other Covered Program Activities. This request is limited to such information related to the varsity intercollegiate football and basketball teams, and seeks only data which is aggregated, anonymous and de-identified.
If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $1.00. However, I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of these issues and is for the purpose of news gathering. This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.
The Michigan Freedom of Information Act requires a response to this request within five days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than this amount of time, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.
If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.
Obviously, I would prefer this data in an electronic form. Also, if I can refine this request in any reasonable manner, to make it either easier to respond to, or to make the response more complete or efficient, let me know and I will work on that with you.
Thank you for considering my request.
The first response is required within five days. They will ‘buy more time’ by asserting they need the additional ten days within which to respond which the statute allows. and will, most likely deny the request entirely. (I also filed a second substantially identical request on Sept. 11, which differed only in that it requested identified, non-anonymous data.)
Copyright William Wilson 2016