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Michigan House Oversight Committee to hear testimony on winter sports ban

Watch live hearing at 10:30 a.m. Thursday

Michigan legislature meets with parents to hear concerns over school winter sports hiatus

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan House Oversight Committee will hear testimony Thursday about the state’s ban on high school sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Committee members including Chairman Steve Johnson (R-Wayland), Michigan High School Athletic Association Director Mark Uyl, Let Them Play Michigan Director Jayme McElvany, Olivet High School Athletic Director Matt Seidl, and concerned parents and athletes are expected to testify during the session Thursday morning.

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“Families throughout the state have reached out to their elected legislators about the governor’s abrupt decision to extend the ban on certain high school winter sports,” reads a statement from the House committee. “The House Oversight Committee will listen to testimony in an effort to provide answers to concerned residents regarding the extension.”

Late last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) would be extending a pause on winter contact sports, namely hockey, wrestling and basketball, to Feb. 21 while allowing restaurants and concession in entertainment venues to reopen at 25 percent capacity.

“With regard to contact sports, we’re watching the numbers very closely. I think it’s important to point out that, you know, as Dr. (Joneigh) Khaldun talked about, the variant, and the seriousness and the high contagious aspects of this variant.

“It’s important that we keep watching the numbers. I mean, I understand the concern that parents and athletes have, and their desire to reengage, but also point to some events that just happened in the last couple of days, with seeing this variant growing in and around Washtenaw County and around the University of Michigan campus.

“I want to commend the University of Michigan for taking the actions that they did. We think that those are the right steps to keep people safe, and our job is to try to curtail the spread of this new variant in Michigan, and we’ve got to not let our guard down.

Michigan House Republicans on Wednesday proposed a $3.5 billion coronavirus recovery plan but threatened to withhold billions to K-12 schools unless Whitmer cedes her administration’s power to prohibit in-person instruction and sports to local health departments.

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