COVID-19

Judge rules WMU soccer players can play on … for now

The students are suing WMU over its vaccination mandate. A judge has extended a restraining order.

Four Western Michigan University soccer players can continue to attend practices and participate in games for the time being. That’s after a federal judge decided to continue a restraining order against the university while the players’ lawsuit against it moves forward.

The students filed suit against WMU last week over its policy requiring student athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in sports. They claimed – and were approved for – religious exemptions from the mandate. WMU barred them from participating, but allowed them to keep their athletic scholarships.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

Federal Judge Paul Maloney ruled on Thursday that the students should be allowed to continue playing while the suit winds its way through the courts. Eleven other student athletes have since joined the suit.

A university spokesperson said it believes the rule is necessary to protect other student athletes from contracting COVID-19. It doesn’t believe it is infringing on religious liberty because it is not withdrawing the students’ scholarships.

The judge said the restraining order will stand until he issues a preliminary injunction, though he didn’t say when that will be.

[MLive, WWMT]

Independent journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. Make a donation today.