FFRF received a complaint that the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) hosted a soccer tournament that included prayer. Video footage revealed that a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes delivered an invocation at the Athens versus Chelsea girls soccer championship.
FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote a letter on July 31, 2012, to remind the AHSAA that even student-initiated and student-led prayers at public school events are unconstitutional, and has been specifically barred by the Supreme Court. Students may not be subjected to religious ritual as the price of attending or participating in school sporting events. Any reasonable observer would perceive that the school was endorsing the religion espoused in the prayer.
AHSAA responded on August 6 that “we certainly appreciate your concerns and take very seriously our duties and obligations under federal and state law. To that end, we intend to fully comply with all constitutional mandates.”