Michigan State teams to play after campus shooting
Michigan State said its sports teams will square off this weekend, days after a gunman killed three students and injured five others in a campus shooting.
Among the events on Saturday are the women’s basketball team that hosts Maryland and the men’s basketball team that plays at rival Michigan State.
The university said in a statement that the decision to resume play was made after discussions with players and staff as well as mental health professionals and university management.
“The safety and physical and mental well-being of our students and staff are of primary concern to Michigan State Athletics,” Michigan State Athletic Director Alan Haller said. in a press release. “In consultation with mental health professionals and in conversations with our student-athletes, it has become clear that a return to training and competition is a crucial part of their recovery. Student-athletes have had an active voice in the decision to return to competition, as well as the autonomy to make their own individual choices regarding participation.
“Athletics can be a rallying point for a community in need of healing, a fact that several of our student-athletes have mentioned to me. The opportunity to represent our entire community has never been greater.”
The shooting happened Monday during evening classes at Berkey Hall and near MSU Union, a community center where students can study, eat and relax. Students across campus were ordered to shelter in place for four hours – “run, hide, fight” if necessary – while police searched for the shooter. The students described breaking windows and taking other desperate measures to escape from Berkey Hall, which will remain closed throughout the spring term.
The shooter, Anthony McRae, 43, killed himself Monday night after being confronted by police.
A Wednesday night vigil on campus drew thousands of students and was attended by Spartans men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo, whose son Steven plays for Michigan State.
“Our hearts are heavy. Our loss has been great. Our lives have been forever changed,” said Tom Izzo. “But with a shared commitment to help each other and a promise to remember those we have lost, we will learn to find joy again.”
Among the Michigan State teams playing this weekend are hockey, softball, baseball and women’s golf. The Spartans men’s tennis team will host Drake on Saturday in a match that was rescheduled from Wednesday.
One of the five injured students has been restored to stable condition at Sparrow Hospital. The others remained in critical condition.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.