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Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association v. Brentwood Academy

Docket No.: 06-427
Certiorari Granted: Jan 5 2007
Argued: April 18, 2007
Decided: June 21, 2007


First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, privacy, Union

PartyNames: Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association v. Brentwood Academy
Petitioner: Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association
Respondent: Brentwood Academy

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association
Brentwood Academy
551 U.S. 291 (2007)
Question Presented:

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association is a voluntary association, composed primarily of public schools, which adopts rules governing athletic competition between its members. Brentwood Academy is a private school that voluntarily chose to join TSSAA and agreed to abide by its rules, but now claims a First Amendment right to continue competing while violating TSSAA's rule against the use of "undue influence" in recruiting students for athletic purposes. The Sixth Circuit agreed, reasoning that Brentwood's voluntary agreement is irrelevant to the constitutional analysis and declining to recognize any substantial state interest in fair and level athletic competition. The question presented in this case is: Whether the Sixth Circuit correctly held, in conflict with decisions of this Court and other courts of appeals, that TSSAA violated the First Amendment and Due Process rights of Brentwood Academy when it imposed contractual penalties for violations of the recruiting rule that Brentwood agreed to follow?


Does a voluntary association composed primarily of public schools violate the First Amendment's protection of free speech when the association punishes a member school for violating athletic recruiting rules that the school agreed to follow?

Holding: judgment reversed and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By:
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