The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is subject to the Right to Know Law according to a recent final determination by officials from the state's Office of Open Records.
The PIAA, the governing body for scholastic sports in Pennsylvania, must now turn over thousands of documents — including financial documents from District 4 — to a Bucks County man who filed a Right to Know request in November.
Simon Campbell said he filed the request after learning The Daily Item's quest to search for District 4 financial records.
"I filed a Right to Know request and in response, the commonwealth got sued. I didn't know I had that power," Campbell said Wednesday. "My request was what The Daily Item was interested in and I asked for every financial document they had. From a legal point of view, in their lawsuit when they tried to seek an injunction in court to stop OOR from doing its judiciary role by not providing me the documents. And that impacts our legal rights."
The PIAA filed a lawsuit against the commonwealth last month asking the court to remove the agency from the Right to Know Law.
The final determination issued Wednesday granted Campbell thousands of records.
"The fact that a request may entail retrieving a large number of records does not relieve the agency's duty to comply with the Right to Know Law," OOR appeals officer Magdalene C. Zeppos-Brown wrote.
The OOR also ruled the Right to Know Law applies to the PIAA. PIAA officials argued the organization should not be under the Right to Know Law because it is not a governmental agency. PIAA has said it is a volunteer group and does not receive public funds. However, school districts use public funds to pay for fees and memberships to the PIAA.
The OOR cited a 2019 appeal to the state by Daily Item reporter Eric Scicchitano in which the OOR ruled the PIAA was in fact part of the law.
"To hold otherwise would disregard the legislative intent behind the RTKL to promote government transparency and would also ignore the legislature's unambiguous directive that the RTKL applies to the PIAA," Wednesday's final determination states.
The PIAA or Campbell now has 30 days to appeal the OOR decision.
The PIAA also received notice from the OOR Wednesday in a Commonwealth court filing asking a state judge to dismiss the PIAA's lawsuit against the office and state in its efforts to break away from being subject to the Right to Know Law.