Ten Laws that Have an Impact on Athletic Programs in Schools

Athletics is an important aspect of school life in the US. All students should have access to athletic programs that encourage a team ethos and help them to be active and healthy. In providing these programs, schools have to be careful that they do not fall foul of the lawsuits that have become common place over recent years.

If you are a fan of college and professional sports, you may have experienced the effects of the law in the legal aspects of placing a wager on a big game, as discussed at https://www.usasportsbooksites.com/. But, it’s not just betting where the law crosses paths with sport. Here is a look at ten aspects of the law that have an impact on athletic programs in schools, long before aspiring athletes get to be the subject of major sports betting.

1. The effects of making a complaint.

Ever since the ruling in the Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education case, the floodgates have opened when it comes to complaints regarding retaliation following the making of a complaint involving an alleged Title IX violation.

2. Issues with gender equality

Schools have a legal obligation to ensure that genders are treated equally in athletics programs. This can include areas such as the changing facilities for boys’ and girls’ teams, and the uniforms that they wear. Gender quality issues are dealt with under Title IX which address sexual discrimination in schools.

3. Consideration of disabilities

All schools must provide access to athletics programs for disabled students. This law is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.  The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1973 also refer to the prohibition of any type of disability discrimination.

4. Transgender policies

Back in 2014, Title IX was expanded to include every student, no matter what their gender identity is. Many states now have specific policies in place which refer to discrimination against transgender students.

5. The issue of sexual harassment

No-one who is reading this article can fail to have witnessed what has been happening in Hollywood lately. The Time’s Up campaign has resulted from the uncovering of years of issues regarding sexual harassment in tinsel town. The issue is no less serious when it comes to school athletics programs.

6. The issue of hazing

Hazing is a common issue in school athletics, and overall it’s the one which attracts the most law suits. Most often schools are found to be liable when they do not have a policy in place to address hazing, or when the one they have in place is not doing the job.

7. Constitutional rights

It’s becoming increasingly common for students who have been suspended for alleged breaches of codes of conduct to take action against schools, alleging breach of constitutional rights. For instance, a student that is found to have unfairly criticized a coach may take action stating that their right to free speech has been violated.

8. The issue of social media

There is still much contention over the way social media is dealt with in respect of school athletic programs. In approximately half of the cases brought to the courts by students who have been sanctioned following off campus social media posts, the courts have upheld the school’s decision. But, in other cases, the courts have found that punishment was against the student’s right to free speech.

9. Sports injuries

One thing that has become apparent from the number of lawsuits following sports related injuries to students is that schools and personnel need to adopt effective processes and procedures in order to safeguard students. Failure to do so can be costly.

10. Managing concussions

Every state in the US has a law regarding the management of concussions in school athletics programs. The majority of these laws cover three main points:

  • If there is a suspected concussion the student involved must be removed from the game.
  • The student cannot play any further part in the game.
  • The student can only return to playing after being certified fit by a medical professional.

As you can see, the law influences many aspects of the sports that are participated in, and watched every day. From sports betting to school athletics programs, there are laws which have to be adhered to.


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