One day after the Michigan Senate unanimously passed Senate Resolution 145, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, Michigan’s four legislative leaders took the significant step of jointly signing a letter to the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) pleading the case of Eric Dompierre.
“Today, we are asking that the MHSAA to lead once again,” the letter states. “In following the state and national attention that the story of Eric Dompierre has received, we believe that Eric’s case highlights an unintended consequence with Michigan’s age-eligibility standard and the need for the association to consider waiving that standard in special circumstances.”
SR 145 seeks to modify the MHSAA’s age limit for student athletes. The policy currently states that students who turn 19 prior to Sept. 1 of a school year are not eligible for interscholastic athletics. “I am excited and grateful that the leaders of both chambers and parties have rallied around the cause for which Eric Dompierre has become the courageous, compelling and endearing face,” said Casperson.
The letter, signed by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, and House Minority Leader Richard Hammel, concludes by asking the MHSAA “to do exactly as it has historically done, and lead once again by crafting a specific and limited exception to the MHSAA’s age-eligibility rule and put that waiver to your members for expeditious adoption.”
“I want to thank Senator Casperson for introducing the Dompierre family to the members of the Senate and for raising awareness about Eric Dompierre’s story,” said Richardville, R-Monroe. “Eric is an athlete who deserves the opportunity to play sports with his fellow classmates, and I hope the MHSAA will take the time to consider the unique circumstances that athletes like Eric present.”
“The Dompierres are an extraordinary family,” added Bolger, R-Marshall. “When I met with them, I found that Eric exudes the value of life in an infectious and inspiring way. He and his teammates have a lot of great lessons to teach adults, if we’re willing to learn.”
SR 145 passed out of the Senate on Thursday. A similar resolution, HR 25, is currently pending before the House Education Committee, which is also expected to see a swift vote.