The University of Colorado has launched an investigation into a dispute over the Christian prayers of football coach Deion Sanders.
The legal department is examining a letter from the First Liberty Institute, a group promoting religious freedom, that was sent in reaction to a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which opposes religious endorsement or promotion by institutions, coaches, or student-athletes.
In January, the foundation expressed concerns about Sanders’ “advocacy of religion and potential religious compulsion through the football program” and requested written notice of the actions the university is taking to ensure that Sanders does not “proselytize to his players or subject them to coercive team prayers”.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) prohibits promotion or endorsement of religious activities during athletic events or on the field of play.
Sanders, who was appointed head coach in December 2022, thanked God in his press conference with Colorado, and has spoken about his faith and its influence on his coaching approach.
The university’s executive vice chancellor affirmed the commitment to non-discrimination and explained the limitations on religious expression for players and coaches.
The hiring was met with mixed reactions, with some welcoming his arrival and others expressing concerns about his views on religion and politics.