By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court said Thursday that athletic associations can enforce limits on recruiting high school athletes without violating coaches' free speech rights.
The high court ruled in a longstanding dispute between a Tennessee athletic association and a football powerhouse, the private Brentwood Academy near Nashville.
The school challenged a rule of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, which governs high school sports in the state. The association bars schools from contacting prospective students about their sports programs.
In a unanimous ruling, the court said that "hard-sell tactics directed at middle school students could lead to exploitation, distort competition between high school teams and foster an environment in which athletics are prized more highly than academics."
Games have rules, Justice John Paul Stevens said for the court. "It is only fair that Brentwood follow them," Stevens said.