Life skills assistant named

Corey Aldritt

The same man who was originally sought by ISU football coach Gene Chizik as a team chaplain has been named the team’s life skills assistant, prompting university professors and faculty to question the decision.

Kevin Lykins, a Texas Baptist pastor with whom Chizik has worked in the past, was chosen to fill the position.

A press release from ISU professors William David, Hector Avalos and Warren Blumenfeld expressed their concern that the selection process was “not an open search that guaranteed members of every faith an opportunity to apply for the position.”

The release also said they felt the athletics department had violated ISU President Gregory Geoffroy’s mandate against creating a perception of “giving preference to one religious faith or viewpoint over any others.”

The group said in the press release that they met with Geoffroy and ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard on Wednesday to discuss growing concerns.

Lykins may receive financial backing from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, but according to the press release, Geoffroy emphasized in their meeting that Lykins would still be expected to adhere to the guidelines of the life skills assistant position, despite his affiliation.

The professors also requested that the ISU athletics department inform all student athletes of the guidelines Geoffroy created, establish a way to make sure the life skills assistant is adhering to Geoffroy’s restrictions, and use independent sources to resolve any student complaints.

“We continue to believe that Dr. Geoffroy’s guidelines can minimize the potential legal problems surrounding [the] life skills volunteer position if athletics interprets them as strictly as we do,” according to the press release.

Chizik’s original plan to hire a team chaplain was protested by more than 130 members of the university’s faculty and staff who signed a petition against the position.