Following the 2013 State 1A-2A-3A Wrestling tournament, hosted by ACS, ASAA received a complaint from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The complaint was based upon a public prayer delivered at the wrestling tournament just prior to the tournament finals. The complaint generally argued that because the statewide tournament is an ASAA sponsored event, ASAA as a “state actor” could not authorize or be responsible for a prayer because of constitutional establishment clause constraints.

ASAA referred the issue to its own legal counsel for evaluation and opinion. After the ASAA Board reviewed the matter at its recent meeting, it was concluded that an ASAA statewide tournament, even though hosted by ACS or other private school, is nevertheless sponsored by ASAA and is therefore subject to longstanding legal case precedent forbidding the use of prayer at an event sponsored by a public entity.

Anchorage Christian School was then informed by ASAA that a public prayer could not be used in conjunction with any future ASAA statewide tournaments. Anchorage Christian School informed ASAA they would no longer be willing to host the tournament under those circumstances.

ASAA is grateful for ACS’s undertakings to host past ASAA statewide events, and hopes that ACS will be willing to do so in the future. ASAA appreciates the Anchorage School District’s willingness to help us by allowing the tournament to be held at Bartlett High School.

Billy Strickland, Executive Director
Alaska School Activities Association



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