An interesting story out of Michigan, where the state's governing body for high school athletics voted to lift the age limit for sports participation, under special circumstances.
The Associated Press has a story on the issue.By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER
DETROIT (AP) — A 19-year-old student with Down syndrome may be able to play football and basketball during his senior year after schools voted in favor of lifting the age limit for sports eligibility under certain circumstances, the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Thursday.
Of the 701 senior high and junior high/middle schools that cast legal ballots, 94 percent approved the rule change, the association said.
The push to loosen the requirement was accelerated after Eric Dompierre petitioned to be able to play sports next season at Ishpeming High School, west of Marquette in the central Upper Peninsula. Dompierre, who already has turned 19, started school late because of the genetic disorder.
Dompierre's father said his son hadn't yet been notified of the vote.
"I'm sure he'll be extremely happy," Dean Dompierre told The Associated Press in a telephone interview shortly after the MHSAA announced the results of the voting. "He's been somewhat stressed about it. ... Now he finds out today that all the work that he's put in is gonna pay off and is gonna allow him to play another year.
"He'll be ecstatic," the father said.
Dean Dompierre said he plans to work "by tomorrow" with Ishpeming High officials to obtain the paperwork needed to formally file a waiver request with the MHSAA.
Under the previous language of the group's constitution, students who turned 19 before Sept. 1 were prohibited from playing sports for the full academic year.
The new rule states that:
— A student's educational progress must have been delayed prior to initial enrollment in the ninth grade solely because of a medically documented disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act or Michigan's Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act.
— At the time of the waiver request, a student must have a defined disability documented to diminish both physical and either intellectual or emotional capabilities, does not create a health or safety risk to participants and does not create a competitive advantage for the team.
Fewer than half of the MHSAA's nearly 1,600 public and private high schools and junior high schools voted on the matter, a fact noted by John E. "Jack" Roberts, the group's executive director.
"Our challenge now is to demonstrate to the negative voters and to those many schools which didn't cast a vote at all, that this is a narrow gate that preserves the integrity of the program as effectively as the previous rule that was so well understood and respected," Roberts said in a statement.
Michigan was one of about 40 states using the maximum age of 19 or a younger maximum age limit