The Worth of a Tar Heel: Student-Athlete Equity and Efforts to Recognize Student Athlete Rights of Publicity

Date(s) - 09/24/2019
11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Freedom Forum Conference Center

(UNC-Chapel Hill Photo/Ben McKeown)

The First Amendment affords noncommercial speech greater Constitutional protection than commercial speech. Speech relating to political topics or matters of opinion, that engage a person’s likeness, are protected by the First Amendment. However, when someone’s name, image, or likeness is used for trade purposes, courts have had difficulty in determining which rights should be protected—courts must balance the right of publicity and the freedom of expression under the First Amendment.

The NCAA is a billion dollar industry and student-athletes assist in generating that revenue by participating in college sports, and in doing so, sign away their rights to be compensated for their image or likeness.Two bills have recently put forward to better protect student-athletes: the University Student-Athlete Protection Committee (N.C. Senate Bill 335) and the Student-Athlete Equity Act (H.R. 1084). Both aim to eliminate the opportunity for the NCAA and the academic institutions from profiting from a student-athlete’s name, image, and likeness.

This panel will discuss the changing landscape of college athletics and how these proposed pieces of legislation fit into the larger legal scheme of the right to publicity.

MA/JD student Kathryn A. Johnson will moderate this panel. Panelists include: Paul Pogge, associate athletic director at UNC; Amanda Reid, assistant professor of media law in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media; Barbara Osborne, professor in UNC’s Exercise and Sport Science program and director of the Graduate Sport Administration program; and Chris Ekstrand, longtime consultant and scout for the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Tagged: 1AD2019
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