Statewide campaign urges Gov. Whitmer to reinstate winter sports, with rally planned for Saturday

A statewide campaign urges Whitmer to reinstate sports
Photo credit Getty Images

Oakland University basketball coach Greg Kampe has written a letter asking the governor and health officials to resume some winter sports that have been put on hold due to the coronavirus.

He's not alone.

A statewide campaign is underway to urge the governor to reinstate sports that were shut down until at least the end of February. Coaches, some parents and students across the state want them back now.

In a letter posted on social media, Kampe said he's spent 43 years of his life teaching young men through sports about the value of team, having dreams and accomplishing them -- plus the value of commitment. He argues they need to return.

Meanwhile, Oxford Athletic Director Jordan Ackerman told WXYZ a February 21 start is "too close" to the start of spring sports and many athletes like to play both. He says some students and parents are driving to Indiana to play.

School sports can be resumed locally in a safe way, he argued.

“We tested 30,000 student-athletes in the fall leading up to the finals. And the tests for negativity was 98.8%,” Ackerman said.

The group of sports supporters is talking about filing a lawsuit against the state and has a rally set for this Saturday at noon at the state capitol in Lansing.

A Facebook group called Let Them Play has more than 31,000 members who say they're planning to attend this weekend's rally.

"Those who are not financially or physically able to do that are going to be left even further behind, and that is not OK!" the group says on Facebook. "The science that fall sports has provided along with the 99.8% negative test rate for the students in the pilot program, and also with numerous scientific studies throughout other states…it is proven that athletes can play sports safely. Join this group to join the fight for our children!"

Group members say they're angry other aspects of life have been able to resume, but not sports.

"So, this is ok governor, but I can't watch my son play football?" one woman wrote on a photo of Whitmer with her daughters at Joe Biden's inauguration.