U of S.C. and Clemson Have Been Asked to Remove Football Team Chaplains for Going Beyond the Boundary Between Church and State


Two South Carolina colleges are among more than dozen who have been sited in the report by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has asked the University of South Carolina to remove its football team chaplain, reports FFRF.org

The nationwide church watchdog says that Adrian Despres, who is paid by the public university, preaches creationism and uses religion to recruit new student-athletes.

Head coach Steve Spurrier openly admits that he calls Despres “Preacher” or “Chaplain” because that’s what he is, “He preaches the word— the Gospel…What we all need to hear.”

FFRF’s report also says that Dabo Sweeney, head football coach at Clemson, arranged for donors to pay $2500 annually for a team chaplain, reports Toledo News Now.

The two South Carolina colleges are among more than a dozen who are sited in the report as overstepping the boundary between church and state.  Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and University of Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville are also accused by the FFRF.

The FFRF will be providing students at these colleges with an “explanation of their rights as students at secular universities.”  FFRF co-President Dan Barker said that these chaplaincies are a “serious violation” of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and a “student’s rights of conscience.”


The FFRF has provided a model for universities and the coaching staffs to follow with regard to religious and secular activities within the team. They say that all coaches and staff must remain religiously neutral on all matters, even when providing character development.  Players who desire religious instruction and care should seek the opportunities that are offered to all of the students on campus. Additionally, while teams may offer character coaches and the like, they too must remain neutral when it comes to religion.


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