Group: Football coach's team prayer a 'flagrant' violation


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — An organization that advocates for the separation of church and state says an Evansville high school football coach committed a "serious and flagrant violation of the First Amendment" by praying with his team after a recent victory.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is seeking an investigation of Evansville Reitz football coach Andy Hape for the Oct. 14 prayer following his team's 49-46 win over Evansville Mater Dei.

The Evansville Courier & Press reports the Madison, Wisconsin-based group said in a letter to the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. that it's illegal for public school athletic coaches "to lead their teams in prayer, participate in student prayers, or to otherwise promote religion to students."

School district spokesman Jason Woebkenberg says the prayer was student-led and that's "acceptable at any of our schools."

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