Oakland basketball coach Greg Kampe calls for Michigan high school sports to be reinstated immediately

Kampe says missing season could potentially change trajectory of some students’ lives

EAST LANSING, MI - DECEMBER 13: Head coach Greg Kampe of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies talks to his team on a time out in the first half of a college basketball game against the Michigan State Spartans at the Breslin Center on December 13, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - DECEMBER 13: Head coach Greg Kampe of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies talks to his team on a time out in the first half of a college basketball game against the Michigan State Spartans at the Breslin Center on December 13, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

ROCHESTER, Mich.Oakland University basketball coach Greg Kampe is the latest prominent figure to call for Michigan high school sports to resume.

In a tweet posted at 9:46 p.m. Monday, Kampe said he wrote a letter in support of student-athletes after he was asked to do so by coaches.

“I ask that the latest order be reconsidered and high school athletics (be) reinstated immediately,” Kampe wrote.

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Kampe, 65, has been a constant in the state’s basketball scene for decades. He’s been the head coach at Oakland for 36 years and is a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. Only Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski have been at their current schools for longer than Kampe.

In his letter, he wrote about the benefits of sports, including learning the values of achieving goals, overcoming adversity and commitment.

He also said some students could miss out on much more than just playing a sport.

“They lose the year and the benefits of sport -- team building, memories, physical activity, learning how to win and lose,” Kampe wrote. “For a percentage of them, (they) could lose out on college scholarships and exposure, changing the trajectory of their life, in some cases.”

Head coach Greg Kampe of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies yells during overtime at Crisler Arena on November 29, 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (2020 Getty Images)

Kampe said there are “countless” athletes in college who wouldn’t have gotten their current opportunities in higher education without athletic scholarships.

“It is for that reason that I am asking -- no, imploring -- that this be turned over to your boots on the ground,” Kampe wrote.

He wants the decisions left up to superintendents, principals, athletic directors and coaches, saying those people have spent a lifetime working to make sure students are safe.

On Monday, the superintendent of Detroit schools, Dr Nikolai Vitti, wrote a similar letter to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, asking her to remove the ban on certain contact winter sports.

Vitti wrote that many athletes are leaving Michigan because most other states -- and every state that borders Michigan -- are playing high school sports despite higher COVID-19 numbers.

Kampe touched on that same concern, saying athletes know Michigan is “one of only two states not playing” certain sports this winter.

He concluded the letter by asking his coaching peers to take a step back and believe in their leadership.

“Please take a step back and remember that radical statements and radical ideas at a time of crisis never turn out well,” Kampe wrote.

You can read his full letter below.


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.