KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - To pray or not to pray: that question is quickly becoming a hot topic when it comes to sporting events.
The latest, an organization sent a letter to UT, asking it to stop scheduling prayer before kickoff.
But today, it was released that the university will allow praying to be continue before games.
It's a response the Secular Student Alliance at UTK or the Freedom from Religion Foundation did not want to hear, but one student said it "was a step in the right direction."
This all started when the Madison, Wisconsin-based FFRF sent a letter to Chancellor Jimmy Cheek last week.
It mentions that an alum contacted them, saying clergymen are leading prayers at Neyland, and invoking the name of Jesus Christ.
In the letter, the FFRF says: "While students, athletes, and athletic event attendees may choose to gather privately in prayer, a public university has no place in encouraging or endorsing religious ritual."
The organization also said instead of prayer, there should be a moment of silence.
Chancellor Cheek responded by saying: "My understanding is that the decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Chaudhuri v. State of Tennessee, which as you note is binding in Tennessee, specifically held that nonsectarian prayer at public university events does not violate the First Amendment."
He concluded with: "the University will continue to allow prayers before University events consistent with the Chaudhuri case."
"If it's been a tradition this long, I don't know why it's a problem now. This is a free country, free speech, if we want to pray before a game, if no one's every complained about it, I don't think that it should be an issue now," said Kelley Smith, a UT student.
"Prayer is one of the things this country was founded on. I don't think it's right for someone to tell a public university or a state school that they can't pray before a game," said Lauriel Cleveland.
The SSA at UTK says they would rather see a moment of silence instead of prayer, but they are pleased with the acknowledgment of one word.
"(Chancellor) Jimmy Cheek managed to identify the word 'nonsectarian' in his response, which we think is a step in the right direction. We don't think it's a final solution, but we're happy that he at least addressed it," said Shaun Adams, with the SSA.
FFRF also sent a letter to UT-Chattanooga regarding prayer, and they have already replaced praying with a "moment of silence" before games.