Atheist Group Says Prayers at Vols Games are Illegal

Sep 19, 2012

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — University of Tennessee officials say prayer before football games at Neyland Stadium does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

According to The Knoxville News Sentinel, the university is preparing a formal response to a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). University spokeswoman Margie Nichols says the administration believes there is no reason to halt the tradition of a pre-kickoff invocation.

Annie-Laurie Gaylor is co-president of the Madison, Wisconsin, based FFRF.

“There’s a decision in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which is binding in Tennessee against sectarian prayer at public university sporting and other events. We’ve become aware that they are violating the law. We’ve had complaints from an alum and from students.”

An invocation was offered Saturday night before UT's game against Florida. UT Chattanooga recently stopped offering prayers at its games after a similar complaint from the Foundation.