Athletics, as a subsystem of the postsecondary institution, is governed by the basic principles applicable to higher education generally. These principles, however, must be applied in light of the particular characteristics and problems of curricular, extracurricular, and intercollegiate athletics programs. A student athlete's eligibility for financial aid, for instance, would be viewed under the general principles governing financial aid, such as contract law and constitutional due process, but aid conditions related to the student's eligibility for or performance in intercollegiate athletics may create a special focus for the problem. In Taylor v. Wake Forest, for instance, the court held that a student-athlete's refusal to participate in practice was a breach of his contractual obligations under his athletic scholarship. Similarly, procedural due process principles may apply when a student-athlete is disciplined, and First Amendment principles may apply when student-athletes engage in protest activities. But in each case the problem may have a special focus.
William A. Kaplin, An Overview of Legal Principles and Issues Affecting Postsecondary Athletics, 5 J.C. & U.L. 1 (1979).