Sixteen unvaccinated student athletes won a court fight to be allowed to participate in sports, defeating Western Michigan University's mandate that all college athletes must get the COVID-19 vaccine before being allowed to play.

According to The Epoch Times, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio, unanimously decided on October 7 that the institution violated the players' First Amendment rights in a publicized ruling.

"The First Amendment, as incorporated through the 14th Amendment, prevents a state from 'prohibiting the free exercise' of religion," the ruling declares.

Additionally, the 14th Amendment ensures "equal protection under the law."

The university apparently "ignored or denied" the religious exemption requests of all 16 athletes.

Plaintiffs were given a choice: get vaccinated or cease participating in college sports completely. The institution infringed on plaintiffs' free exercise rights by making participation in sports contingent on abandoning their religious convictions.

After a lower court issued an injunction, the institution asked the three-judge panel to suspend the order so that it could enforce its vaccination policy.

The athletes were prohibited from participating in games or even training with their teams until they were vaccinated against COVID-19.

"It's a great win for our clients and for religious liberty," said attorney David Kallman, senior counsel at the Great Lakes Justice Center, who represented the student-athletes.

Kallman added that the Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee courts have now made the court's judgment a "binding precedent."

The Epoch Times noted that although Western Michigan University does not force student athletes to get vaccinated, the university does require student athletes to get the jab in order to compete. Athletes must also wear masks to practice and are subjected to virus testing on a regular basis. The athletes' lawsuit did not touch on these rules or regulations.

Concerns regarding the COVID vaccines' safety and efficacy stemming from their rapid development and distribution have been addressed by LifeSite News, pointing out that such variables do not completely compensate for the compressing of clinical trial stages, which may require between 1-3 years each.

Concerning serious harm from COVID shots, just 1% of all doses given in the US have been recorded to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). But according to a 2010 report filed to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the US Department of Health and Human Services, VAERS documented "fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events."

To make matters worse, the CDC was caught erasing 6,000 COVID vaccine-induced deaths on VAERS.

Reporting from NBC News in May also cited a number of reputable specialists who acknowledge that there are "gaps" in government vaccine tracking.

Likewise, one of Project Veritas' recent exposés reveal an insider at a government medical institution speaking openly about severe medical problems she had observed following COVID vaccination that aren't being disclosed.

Despite mounting evidence that higher vaccine compliance does not translate into a decrease in COVID-19 infection, the Biden administration continues to promote the narrative that COVID-19 vaccinations are essential for containing the outbreak.

ABC News reported on Wednesday that according to Johns Hopkins University data, more Americans died this year from COVID-19 (353,000) than did so in all of 2020 (352,000). This is despite the CDC considering 65 percent of the population to be "fully vaccinated" (CDC).