FIRE’s Samantha Harris penned an op-ed for the New York Daily News, published online last night, that explores the growing number of cases in which universities punish student athletes for engaging in constitutionally protected speech. While recognizing that “student athletes agree to increased regulation of their lives in exchange for the ability to represent their university on an athletic team,” Sam argues that, in some instances, universities go too far:
[T]here must be some limits on the university’s ability to intrude upon its athletes’ rights. A university cannot claim to be a bastion of freedom and openness and then operate like a totalitarian state with regard to its athletes. After all, they’re students, too.
Sam argues that while universities can regulate speech that the student athletes engage in while publicly representing the university, they cannot declare all of a student’s private communications to be fair game for investigation and sanction simply because that student is also an athlete.
To read more about this issue, be sure to check out Sam’s full op-ed over at the New York Daily News.