The University Of Toledo will no longer allow head football coach Matt Campbell to lead his team in pregame prayer.
Campbell issued a statement, saying that players will now have to “determine on their own any personal preparation methods to help them mentally prepare to play.”
The issue came to light when a video of Coach Campbell leading the team in prayer before a 2012 game against Bowling Green surfaced. The video shows the coach taking a knee with his team and reciting the Lord’s Prayer and was filmed with a camera attached to a player’s helmet.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation called the prayer a “serious and flagrant violation of the First Amendment” and asked the University of Toledo to ban coach-led prayer.
The FFRF said in a letter to the University that a “concerned alumnus” sent them the video of Coach Campbell leading the team in prayer. They did not take legal action against the school, but they said that they believe a court would most likely agree with the complaint.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a Wisconsin-based organization that seeks to enforce the separation of religion and government. They have issued complaints with other teams in regard to similar circumstances, including a notable complaint against Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney for using the team’s busses to attend church services and promoting Christianity.
After Coach Campbell agreed to end leading his team in prayer, the university said that he would not be commenting again on the issue.
Photo Credit: USATSI