Courtesy of Let ‘Em Play
Dean Dompierre, founder of Let ‘Em Play and the father of Eric Dompierre, issued the following statement in response to the proposal issued yesterday by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) to amend its constitution to allow for the approval of a waiver of to its maximum age limit for inter-scholastic athletic participation in certain, limited circumstances.
Dompierre said that “Eric and I are thankful to the Association and its Representative Council for listening to the tremendous grassroots efforts that supported a change to Michigan’s age-eligibility standard and for the effort, thought and deliberation they employed to craft a fair and reasonable solution. After reviewing the policy, I believe the Association has risen to the challenge and developed a limited and fair exception that strikes the right balance to allow Eric and those he represents to participate in their senior year of high school athletics while protecting the integrity of high school athletics.”
The amendment to the MHSAA Constitution, which can only be changed by a vote of the Association’s member schools, would allow the Association’s Executive Committee to consider and approve waivers to the age-eligibility standard if two primary criteria are met by a student who makes application. First, the student’s educational progress must have been delayed prior to initial enrollment in the 9th grade solely because of a medically documented disability under the American with Disabilities Act or the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act. Second, at the time the waiver is requested, the student must have a defined disability documented to diminish both the student’s physical and either intellectual or emotional capabilities and that it would not create a health or safety risk, and it does not create competitive advantage.
Dompierre appropriately borrowed a sports metaphor in saying “this decision is a profound step forward and advances the ball into scoring position. However, we are not across the goal line yet. And, consequently, Eric and I join with the Association to ask that all member schools immediately vote to approve this rule change. In that vein, we call on the truly humbling group of grassroots supporters who have been so instrumental in helping with this cause one last time, and ask them to urge their local school districts to approve the proposal. Together, we will make Michigan the 24th state with a fair, sensible and compassionate policy that balances the integrity of high school athletics with the special needs of students like Eric and ensures students with disabilities have an opportunity to continue the life lessons that sports provide to these athletes and their teammates in their senior season.”