A university that stalks or bans student-athletes’ Facebook and Twitter accounts may be legally out of bounds, sports law experts say.
University athletic departments are following the trend set by professional sports teams to regulate social media. But university officials who ask student-athletes for social media passwords or registered handles to monitor their activity or prohibit them from using social networking sites are violating freedom of speech rights and exposing schools to lawsuits by increasing legal liability, law experts said at a recent sports law symposium.
“If you’re a public school, there’s no way (you can say) I’m banning Twitter or I’m banning Facebook,” said social media and sports law attorney Brad Shear. “You just can’t do it. It’s clear prior restraint.”
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