Survey: Should prayer be allowed in athletic programs?

October 22, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
In September, Coach and Athletic Director asked readers whether coaches or athletes should be allowed to lead their teams in prayer. The issue has been debated over the last few months as coaches and schools have found themselves in hot water for allowing prayer before games.

PrayerSurveyThe Supreme Court determined in 2000 — Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe — that student-led prayer at football games is a violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. That decision has been considered the rule for all public institutions and all sports.

In our survey, nearly three-quarters of people said that prayer should not be prohibited at public schools.

“Communities hire coaches to lead, to be the role model for their young males,” said one respondent. “They hire the whole person not just the part that knows football. If it is in the coach’s character to lead his team then he should have that option. This argument is not over, I do believe it will be revisited in the future and love will win.”

Oklahoma legislators debated the issue this summer, and a Georgia school district reached an out-of-court settlement after facing a federal lawsuit over in-school prayer.

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