Sport Law Discussion Questions
Social Media Issues and School Authority to Sanction Student-Athletes
Courts continue to struggle with the issue whether schools have the authority to sanction students or student-athletes for inappropriate, off-campus postings on social media websites in violation of school or athletics codes of conduct. Since 2011, six cases have been decided on the issue by U.S. Courts of Appeal and a dozen other rulings have been issued by U.S. District Courts. In precisely one-half of those cases, courts have held that such punishments violate student-free-speech rights, while in the others, courts have upheld school action because the speech in question created a substantial disruption at school, constituted bullying or harassment, or manifested a true threat of violence against members of the school community.