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27 J. Legal Aspects Sport 19 (2017)
Going for Gold: Social Media and the USOC

handle is hein.journals/jlas27 and id is 19 raw text is: 





Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport, 2017, 27,19-31
https://doi.org/10.1123/Jlas.2016-0016                     Human  Kinetics VZS
@ 2017 Human Kinetics, Inc.                                  ORIGINAL RESEARCH



             Going for Gold: Social Media

                          and the USOC


       Nicholas   Gary   Schlereth                Evan  Frederick
       University  of New  Mexico              University of Louisville

    The purpose of this study was to examine the social media guidelines established
    by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which are enforced by the United
    States Olympic Committee (USOC). Specifically, this paper explored the relation-
    ship between the USOC, IOC, and the USOC athletes with regard to Rule 40 of
    the IOC, which regulates athlete social media use and expression of non-Olympic
    sponsors. This study was guided by two underlying questions: Does the social
    media policy from the IOC and USOC violate an American athlete's constitutional
    rights granted under the first amendment of the Constitution? And, when the United
    States Congress officially recognized the USOC in 1978, did it recognize a federally
    created monopoly on Olympic participation for athletes from the United States?

    Keywords: USOC, IOC, athletes and social media, Rule 40, social media and policy

    When   an athlete qualifies for the Olympic Games, they have fulfilled a life-
time goal of competing for a gold medal. The journey is not cheap, with expenses
reaching over $100,000. These expenses are often covered by family or sponsors
such as Nike and Speedo  (Kindelan, 2012). If an athlete wins a gold medal, the
United States Olympic Committee  (USOC)   will provide him or her with $25,000.
In addition, an athlete could receive a training stipend or grant, which may not be
enough  to cover training expenses. Athletes rely on sponsors to make their dream
a reality, but while they are competing at the Olympic Games, they are forbidden
from posting content on social media accounts that provide support for their spon-
sors (Gold Medal  LLC  v. USA Track and  Field, 2016). The USOC  must  adhere
to and enforce the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) policy on athletes'
social media use, which prevents them from posting content related to non-Olympic
sponsors during the blackout period of the Olympic Games.
    The USOC   was established in 1894 as the national governing body for amateur
sports in the United States. Specifically, the USOC is in charge of organizing athlete
development  and providing training and coaching for competition in the Olympics
(United States Olympic Committee, 2013). The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur
Sport Act of 1978  provided the USOC   with Congressional  recognition and its

Schlereth is with the Dept. of Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albu-
querque. Frederick is with the University of Louisville, KY Address author correspondence to Nicholas
Schlereth at nschlereth@unm.edu


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