Louisiana Governor Asks State Universities to Make Student-Athletes Attend National Anthem to Show ‘Respect’


Case Overview

On April 2, 2024, Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry sent letters to the LSU Board of Supervisors and other state university leaders urging that they implement policies requiring student-athletes to be present for the national anthem before athletic events or risk losing their athletic scholarships. Gov. Landry’s letter came after the LSU women’s basketball team did not take the court for the national anthem before its NCAA Tournament matchup against Iowa on April 1. Landry said anthem attendance should be mandatory as a sign of “respect for our country.” FIRE quickly wrote the LSU Board of Supervisors, copying other Louisiana public universities with athletic teams, encouraging them not to follow Gov. Landry’s order. FIRE’s letter explained that such a requirement to show personal respect for national symbols would compel student-athletes to express views they may not genuinely hold, contrary to the First Amendment.