Michigan House Republicans
State Reps call a foul on governor’s recent high school sports restrictions
RELEASE|January 22, 2021
Contact: TC Clements

State Rep. TC Clements (Temperance) and State Rep. Bronna Kahle (Adrian) today expressed frustration and deep disappointment in the governor’s recent order which includes extending the prohibition on contact sports, specifically affecting high school competitions across the state.

The governor announced today that winter contact sports must remain non-contact through February 21. Her previous order would have expired at the end of January and allowed those sports to begin competitions February 1. Winter contact sports include boys’ and girls’ basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling.

“Since the fall, the governor has benched our student athletes without explanation,” said Clements.  “She continues to change her mind regarding when it’s safe for them to play leaving players and parents with no notice.  There is no sport that I know of where the rules are changed throughout the game and without warning to those involved. Our student-athletes deserve to be able to compete just like their friends across the borders have been able to.”

“We must do better for them,” said Kahle. “We can look to other states for how to do it, with guidelines for attendance and other protocols to help protect public health.”

Indiana and Ohio have allowed youth sports participation, including at the high school level, after adopting safety procedures for athletes, officials, and spectators.

“My heart goes out to these kids who are being denied a chance to have a safe, complete high school experience,” said Kahle. “We cannot underestimate the positive influence that sports and other extracurricular activities have on our children, our families, and our communities.”

Schools in Ohio and Indiana have resumed their competitions on a voluntary basis in which local schools can choose whether or not to participate.

According to a statement issued by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) earlier today, the organization did not know of the extension until it was announced, giving them no advanced warning to prepare teams.

“It seems that the governor is taking the easy approach and banning all activities, instead of sitting down with groups and listening to their ideas on how to play safely,” said Clements. “We are a government of the people for the people and the governor continues to act as if our state has only one voice.”

According to the MHSAA’s website, nearly 300,000 young men and women take part in high school sports each year.

“Playing sports is not just about winning trophies or medals.  We’ve long known about the many benefits exercise provides, both physically and mentally,” said Clements. “A strong body and mind also contribute to a stronger immune system, something that is vital to combat the coronavirus.”

Kahle also stated, “I urge the governor to work together toward a safe and responsible plan allowing high school sports here in Michigan.”

Rep. Clements and Rep. Kahle represent districts which include communities close to the Ohio border.

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