The Drake Group Issues Position Paper on Constitutionally Protected Speech and Expression Rights of College Athletes


For immediate release
Fritz Polite, President
The Drake Group
(407) 758-0811

The Drake Group Issues Position Paper on Constitutionally Protected Speech and Expression Rights of College Athletes

NEW HAVEN, CONN. – The Drake Group, a national organization of college faculty and others whose mission is to defend educational integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports, has released a position statement today that addresses athletic department codes of conduct and team rules that may infringe on the speech and expression rights of college athletes.

Drake Group President Fritz Polite, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at Shenandoah University (VA), stated, "The Drake Group believes there is a need to address constitutionally protected speech and expression rights of public college and university students who participate in intercollegiate athletics. This need is highlighted by current national debates about the extent to which athletic departments should properly control athlete behavior, especially on social media and in connection with activism. These control questions include whether requirements such as athletes standing during the national anthem, providing athletic departments with their social media passwords or covering their body tattoos violate First Amendment rights. Dealing with such issues requires institutions and athletic directors to properly understand the potential conflict between these rights and codes of conduct and the need to carefully reason and balance often well-intentioned but competing interests."

The position statement provides athletic directors and other educational leaders with a decision-making framework and extensive recommendations for developing athlete codes of conduct, team rules, and model practices that should be implemented to educate athletes and coaches about important free-speech protections. CLICK HERE for full position paper.



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