Swinney: 'Players of any faith, or no faith at all are welcome'

CLEMSON, S.C. (WACH) - Dabo Swinney is responding to recent complaints from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that his football program pushes Christianity on players.

The FFRF argues Swinney violated the Constitution and takes issue with the fact that Swinney chose to schedule team devotionals and arrange for transportation for coaches and players for what were known as "church days."

"Players of any faith or no faith at all are welcome in our program," said in a statement released by the school on Wednesday. "All we require in the recruitment of any player is that he must be a great player at his position, meet the academic requirements, and have good character."

As of now, no complaints from any players or coaches have been issued, just the single complaint from the FFRF who argue religion is "entangled" with the Clemson football program.

On Wednesday, Aaron Kelly, a Jehovah's Witness who played receiver for Swinney from 2005 to 2008, told he never had any problems despite having a different faith than the coach.

"It was never forced on me or anything like that," Kelly told the website. "If I was uncomfortable with anything, I just explained myself and they were okay with it."

Swinney used Kelly as an example to defend himself Wednesday, saying he never had any issues coaching Kelly, who went on to the NFL, and is currently in the Canadian Football League.

"I try to be a good example to others, and I work hard to live my life according to my faith," said Swinney. "I am proud of the great success we have had in developing good players and good men at Clemson. We win at the highest level and we graduate players who excel on the field and in life because of their time in Death Valley."

Earlier this month, a university spokeswoman said the school would evaluate the complaints but it believes Swinney and the football staff are not violating any laws or school policies.