“It would be a huge relief to see the rule changed, and not just because I’ve been working on it for so long,” Dean Dompierre, Eric’s father, said Thursday. “It would help kids in the future that would have been excluded. Kids like Eric.”
The current rule, which, according to the MHSAA, has been in effect for 33 years, never sat well with Dean. Two years ago, he initiated a proposal to have it amended in a way that would allow students with Down syndrome to play sports even if they had turned 19 before Sept. 1. But the MHSAA’s 19-member representative council declined to send the proposal to its 1,536 member schools for a vote. Undeterred, Dean last year initiated a broader proposal, targeting students with any disability. That, too, was rejected by the council, which indicated that member schools didn’t see a need for change.