Group Says Clemson Coach Shouldn't Allow Team Bible Study

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney (Photo: Clemson Athletics)

Staff and Wire Reports

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says he doesn't plan to make any changes after a group raised concerns about the role religion plays in his football team.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation's letter of complaint to the university expressing concerns about the football program's connection to the coach's Christian religion.

The watchdog group sent its complaints earlier this month. According to the foundation, Swinney's promoted a culture in the program that promotes Christianity and violates constitutional guidelines against publicly funded institutions endorsing religion or engaging in religious exercises.

EXTRA: Read the full complaint

One of the core complaints raised by the group was Swinney selecting James Trapp to be the team chaplain.

The foundation says Trapp was regularly given access to the entire team in between drills for bible study.

The foundation argues that by giving this access the coach is showing "preference for religion over nonreligion, alienates those players who don't believe as he does, and creates a culture of religious coercion within the university's football program.

Swinney issued a response Wednesday saying recruits and their families deserve to know the type of person a coach is beyond the football field. He's proud of the job he has done in turning out people who excel in "life because of their time at Death Valley."

"Players of any faith or no faith at all are welcome in our program," Swinney said in the statement. "All we require in the recruitment of any player is that he must be a great player at his position, meet the academic requirements, and have good character.

EXTRA: Read Swinney's Statement

The school has said it thought the FFRF was "mistaken" in its assessment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.