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Clemson, SC (WLTX) - Clemson Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney has issued his first response to a group's claims that he and his department go too far in promoting religion to players.

Swinney issued a statement through the athletics office Wednesday.

"Over the past week or two, there has been a lot of discussion of my faith," Swinney wrote. "I want to thank Clemson University and all the people who have reached out to offer their support and encouragement over the past few weeks.

Earlier this month, a group called the Freedom of Religion Foundation wrote a letter of complaint to Clemson, saying that they had constitutional concerns about how the football program might be too entangled with religion. Specifically, the group said that Swinney and the team chaplain arranged Bible studies, devotionals, and distributed Bibles and other religious materials.

Previous Coverage:Group Says Clemson Football is Entangled for Religion

The group said they'd reviewed public records and published articles in reaching their decision.

Swinney, though, says he just requires that the players go to class, give good effort, and be good citizens.

"I have recruited and coached players of many different faiths," Swinney said. "Players of any faith or no faith at all are welcome in our program. 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."

The Freedom of Religion Foundation said their goal was not to interfere with Swinney's beliefs, but to protect the rights of players.

A spokesperson for the university said earlier that Swinney did not mandate that players attend religious meetings.

Here is Swinney's full statement:

Over the past week or two, there has been a lot of discussion of my faith. We have three rules in our program that everybody must follow: (1) players must go to class, (2) they must give a good effort and (3) they must be good citizens. It is as simple as that.

I have recruited and coached players of many different faiths. Players of any faith or no faith at all are welcome in our program. 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.

Recruiting is very personal. Recruits and their families want – and deserve – to know who you are as a person, not just what kind of coach you are. I try to be a good example to others, and I work hard to live my life according to my faith. 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. I want to thank Clemson University and all the people who have reached out to offer their support and encouragement over the past few weeks.

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