University of Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity denies charges from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that UGA football coach Mark Richt and football chaplain Kevin “Chappy” Hynes are using their positions to “impose their personal religion on players” and raise money for a Christian ministry.
“The local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes provides optional chaplain services for student-athletes that wish to participate,” McGarity said in a brief statement issued Friday afternoon. “Neither the University nor the Athletic Association finances these activities, and they are completely voluntary for the student-athletes.”
In a letter to UGA, the FFRF demanded the school abolish the sports chaplain program even though technically, they are not school employees.
“Even if Fellowship of Christian Athletes or other private funds are primarily paying (the chaplains), that doesn’t mitigate the unseemly entanglement. The university is granting (the chaplains) unique access and influence lending endorsement to his proselytizing.”
In a statement, the Georgia Baptist Convention condemned the letters saying, “Chaplains have always played an important role providing support, encouragement and guidance in all facets of life.”
At UGA, one student told the local news station in Athens that she doesn’t think they are a bad thing.
“A lot of good morality comes from Christianity, regardless of whatever you believe in, God or the Bible or anything. It’s really a community and it’s supportive,” said Shelly Crochet, a law student.