A link to the video: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=3661482376404
The Ishpeming High School Boys Basketball Team finished it’s 2011-12 campaign with a loss in the Class C District Finals to Negaunee. Next season, The Hematites may be missing one of their players.
Eric Dompierre is just like any other high school student. He goes to school full time, works a part time job, and Eric is heavily involved in sports. However, this upcoming fall, The 5’3″ Dompierre might be held off of the field and the court, due to his age.
“When he first started playing freshman basketball, the varsity coach told me that he fully expect Eric to be a 4-year player, so it was at that point we did the math and realized that as things stood, he would not be allowed to play his senior year” said Eric’s dad Dean Dompierre.
Eric will 19 years old this fall, and the Michigan High School Athletic Association does not let anyone over the age of 18 participate in any sanctioned athletic competition. If Dompierre is not able to play, his basketball coach among others, will be disappointed.
“I’ve been watching him play since he was a freshman. He’s making some big strides; just watching how he’s improved and everything- he’s an inspiration to all of us,” says Ishpeming High School Boys Basketball coach Bob Salisbury.
“I have the support of the team, they want me to play with them, so am trying to figure out how I can play with them also” says Eric Dompierre.
The elder Dompierre has spent the last 2 years trying to get the MHSAA to come through with a waiver that will let Eric play sports during his senior year. 23 other states across the U.S. have some type of waiver that would allow kids like Eric participate in athletics.
Since the MHSAA has turned him down twice, Dompierre turned to the media. ERic’s story has reached such outlets as Sports Illustrated and the New York Times.
“I never, ever expected it to take off like it has. Facebook is what really was the thing that got it kick started, and once I saw there was a lot of support out there amongst Facebook users, that’s when we decided to go to change.org and start the petition, and the petition took off just as fast as Facebook did,” Dean said.
The petition at change.org has collected over 77,000 signatures thus far. And for Eric, he is thrilled about the support he is getting from across the nation.
“It makes me feel good, because there’s so many people supporting me from other states, from down south and even up here,” said Eric.
But for now, all Eric, his family, teammates, and coaches can do is wait, and hope, that the MHSAA will let him play.
Posted by: Jerry Taylor