Tinkering With Policies in the Digital Age: How Interscholastic Athletic Directors Address Social Media Use by Student-Athletes

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX, USA
  • | 2 Stoll Strategies, LLC, Grand Junction, CO, USA
  • | 3 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • | 4 Troy University, Troy, AL, USA
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Social media use by student-athletes has become a topic of concern for interscholastic athletic directors. The recent Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. Supreme Court case highlighted how student speech has evolved in the digital age. This study explored how Texas interscholastic athletic directors view social media policy implementation and the effect it has on student-athlete behavior. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 13 athletic directors across all six University Interscholastic League enrollment classifications. Analysis revealed that athletic directors do have legal concerns when restricting online off-campus speech but see a need for promoting positive social media use by their student-athletes. The results suggest high school athletic departments must update their policies frequently to ensure that the information relayed to student-athletes is current, relevant, and based on recent case law.

Price (bprice@wtamu.edu) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8012-7615.

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