from the hello-first-amendment dept
College sports have become a big business. That's no secret. We see it all the time, and at times that's used to stifle elements of free speech, such as in making fan-created t-shirts and such illegal. Now it's going even further. Romenesko points us to the news that the University of Kentucky, a state-funded university, has banned the distribution of a free student newspaper at the University's Commonwealth Stadium before football games. Apparently, UK has a marketing contract with sports licensing giant IMG, which they believe gives IMG a monopoly on any media efforts around the stadium. Of course, plenty of folks are pointing out that this is a pretty clear First Amendment problem. It's a public government-owned entity, forbidding the distribution of speech. The contract with IMG is meaningless as you can't contract away others' free speech rights. It sounds like folks are gearing up for a legal challenge here, which should be worth following.