PROVO, Utah – For years Brigham Young University has regulated what athletes can say to the media, but a recent memo from the National Labor Relations Board could make it illegal to restrict athletes from speaking to the media.
The NLRB’s ruling says that athletes at several private universities may be considered employees with legally protected rights, including the first amendment right to speak freely on social media and give interviews without the institution’s permission.
The BYU Athletic department declined to comment on the ruling because they said it is a non-issue for BYU. But according to the memo, 17 private universities may have to allow athletes to say, tweet or text whatever they want.
“They are not really going to watch or censor what they say and it could definitely get them into some big trouble, so I think it’s just good to be on the safe side and have those regulations,” said BYU sports fan Kai Garner.
According to ESPN, Northwestern University recently changed multiple handbook rules because the NLRB found that they were unfair labor practices and “unlawfully overboard.”
Northwestern has now said their athletes may “directly speak with members of the media if they choose to do so.”