SI.com’s Andy Staples looks at the Coaches Poll and decides that we don’t need no stinkin’ secret ballots.
In the Idaho Code, the law appears in sections 9-337 to 9-350. In the Florida Statutes, the law appears in sections 119.01 through 119.15. In the United States Code, the law is outlined in section 552, but most know that statute better as the Freedom of Information Act.
No matter the jurisdiction, laws exist to help us get a look at the information the American Football Coaches Association doesn’t want us to see. When it decided to make the post-conference championship game USA Today Coaches Poll ballots secret beginning in the 2010 season, the AFCA ignored one glaring fact: Most of the coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision work for public universities. That means everything those coaches do is subject to the open records law in their particular state. That includes each week’s coaches poll ballot.
So beginning Tuesday, SI.com will file records requests with the employer of each of the 51 public school coaches who vote in the 2009 poll. If the schools comply with the law, we should get a look at every ballot. Legal action may be required if schools refuse to comply, but if a recent case involving Florida State and the NCAA is any indication, judges likely will support the people asking that highly paid public employees be held accountable for their actions. Every ballot we receive will be published.