Roy Exum: Clemson Prayer And Much More

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Clemson’s football program, which has won 11 games in each of the past two years and was ranked 8th in the nation after whipping Ohio State in this year’s Orange Bowl, has just been “blind-sided.” The Freedom from Religion Foundation claims Coach Dabo Sweeney and his staff are doing far too much “to promote Christianity to their student athletes.”

Clemson promptly roared back that participation is purely voluntary and that there are no repercussions for students who don’t wish to take part. An official statement from the Tigers said, “We believe the FFRF is mistaken in their assessment.”

The anti-religious group announced, "What we'd like to see is the end of this chaplaincy position and end to Bible distributions by coaches, an end to devotionals scheduled and put on by coaches and staff. The coaches need to step back and just coach (football) and not coach in religious matters."

Good luck with that. Sweeney is deeply religious and likes things the way they are. The Clemson statement added, “The Supreme Court has expressly upheld the right of public bodies to employ chaplains and has noted that the use of prayer is not in conflict with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.”

I’ll guarantee the NFFRF that the Clemson “family” is quite thrilled with Sweeney and the devotionals that, in fact, are an integral part of every successful football program, particularly in the South. The anti-religious crowd can and does bully high schools but they’ll stumble badly when groups such as the NFFRF take on the Clemsons and Auburns of the world.

* * *

Look for the Southeastern Conference to announce soon that its football teams will play a ninth league game every year. Formats are already being drawn that will have SEC teams playing another conference game in addition to the eight that are now scheduled. The reason? The SEC Network debuts in August and already a weekly Sunday night game is in the works

* * *

The University of Alabama, once again, had the biggest turnout in the country for the annual A-Day spring game with 73,506 fans basking in the sun while Auburn – at the same time – had 70,465. Second-place honors went to Penn State, where former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin generated 72,000. The worst? Georgia Tech, where it was admittedly cold and drizzly on Friday night, had less than 2,000, most staying undercover in the pavilion, which left the stands embarrassingly empty for a game that included 13 fumbles.

* * *

The state legislature approved a bill that sounds cruel but it’s not. Hospitals in the state can now dismiss patients who no longer need the costly care of a major health facility to long-term nursing homes. Homeless persons are the most common problem but the truth is the expenses in an acute-care facility are staggering and shouldn’t be abused when a person’s needs can be adequately met elsewhere.

* * *

Tennessee basketball fans have been so swept up in Cuonzo Martin’s abrupt departure to California they haven’t noticed that Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith just bolted the Tigers for Tulsa. What is bizarre is that Haith sent athletic director Mike Allen a text to tell him he was leaving. Obviously the media is having a field day with the story and here’s hoping Mizzou will have as much success as Tennessee just did hiring former Southern Mississippi coach Donnie Tyndall.

* * *

NCAA president Mark Emmert, who makes $1.7 million a year guiding intercollegiate athletics in the United States, has been under continuous fire for his stupid statements but when he claims if colleges paid athletes, he’d settle for just a scholarship, I wonder if the truth is in him. He also said, “If you are going to pay athletes, why not hire someone from the CFL?” Are you kidding me?

* * *

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is famously silent when cases are presented, couldn’t help himself Tuesday when the court upheld a drug bust in Washington, where simple possession now receives a ticket cheaper than a parking citation. “You probably shouldn’t carry 30 pounds around with you,” he said as the audience chuckled.

* * *

Did you miss it or do you already know that the guy who won Monday’s Boston Marathon is actually 38 years old? Meb Keflezighi is the oldest guy to win the race since 1931, giving old geezers everywhere a spring in their step. Meb, who won in a time of 2:08.37 before a sun-drenched crowd estimated to number over one million (Boston Strong!), is an American who came to the United States as a refugee at age 12 from Eritrea (located on the Horn of Africa on the Red Sea). And, hey, has there ever been an athletic event seen by an actual crowd of over a million? Not that I can think of …

* * *

Doug Flutie, the great quarterback at Boston College who later played for NFL, has still got it. The 52-year-old got up Monday morning, said “Why not?” and ran the 26.2-mile marathon in 5:23.54. At the same time, a team running for the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism raised over $175,000 in the race. A number of celebrities ran but the most adored were the injured victims from last year’s bombing who were cheered the length of the course.

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