The Clark County School District informed principals and assistant principals Friday its member schools will not participate in the fall sports season.
The announcement was made in a statement sent from CCSD athletic director Tim Jackson.
“The district will not participate in any season 2 fall sports, which include cross country, football, girls golf, soccer, tennis, girls volleyball and middle school basketball for the 2020-2021 school year. As a reminder, all schools are to remain closed for athletic purposes,” the statement read.
The CCSD has been steadfast in its position that schools must conduct in-person classes before sports will be allowed to resume, which is also the policy of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.
“I think the state blew it. Forty other states figured (out how to play football), and Nevada didn’t figure it out,” Legacy High School football coach John Isola said, although it was the school district, not the NIAA or the governor, that has ruled out playing football. “The superintendent blew it, the governor blew it, they all blew it. If 40 states could figure it out, why couldn’t we have figured it out? Because you know who gets hurt? The kids.”
Among neighboring states, Arizona and Utah played football in the fall — with stops and starts because of COVID-19 — while California and Oregon have yet to start. Nevada is scheduled to start March 5, although the sport has not yet been removed from the no-play list in the state.
The CCSD’s announcement came less than an hour before a briefing from NIAA Executive Director Bart Thompson and co-Assistant Director Donnie Nelson on the status of the sports calendar.
“I was shocked,” Thompson said. “We got that just before we came on. We don’t speak for them. That was an announcement on their part and did not have any impact on what we talked about (during the briefing).”
Thompson announced that the NIAA is recommending that the regular season schedules be vacated in basketball and wrestling, simply because if those sports were permitted to play there would be little time for the necessary practices to be conducted and get a season in by the end of the winter competition window, which is Feb. 20.
And forget about winter sports being permitted during the dates allocated to the fall or spring sea sons.
“We had strong input from our schools across the state,” Thompson said. “We will not move sports on top of other sports.”
While Clark County will not be fielding teams in fall sports, other schools can participate in everything except football.
“Cross country, girls golf, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis and girls volleyball may all be conducted within the COVID-19 mitigation guidance,” Thompson said. “We are in full planning mode to make sure those sports are conducted.”
Being able to play but not having Clark County schools take the field would leave Pahrump Valley High School teams facing very unusual schedules.
“This was not a surprising announcement since their high schools have not returned to any kind of in-person education,” PVHS athletic administrator Jason Odegard said. “We have already started putting schedules together with the thought that CCSD would probably not be able to participate. Hope to have schedules finished in the next week or so.”
“Like a lot of people, I am not thrilled that Clark County canceled their fall sports, but it is what it is,” Trojans girls volleyball coach Jill Harris said. She could have been speaking for every PVHS coach; it’s a major negative, but we will find somebody to play.
Girls soccer coach Julie Carrington and football coach Joe Clayton are among those who have mentally put together schedules in anticipation of Clark County schools not competing in fall sports.
“I think it’s understandable based on the sizes of their schools and how many kids that they have to work with, but I am sad for the students,” Carrington said. “We will be able to play a few schools — SLAM, Equipo, Moapa — so I’m thankful for that opportunity for our ladies.
“Hoping for the remainder of our teams to get a chance to play.”
SLAM! Nevada and Equipo Academy are charter schools, while Moapa Valley High School in Overton was an exception when the CCSD canceled the winter season. But unlike soccer, football, classified as a full/close-contact sport, needs a change in the current restrictions to be played. Thompson said the NIAA had submitted a proposal to lift the prohibition on those sports but has yet to receive a response from the governor’s office.
Clayton recently ticked off most of a possible schedule for the football team. With SLAM! Nevada and Moapa Valley in the Class 3A Southern League with the Trojans, home-and-home series with them and a possible game against Faith Lutheran — which reopened a few days earlier — would provide five games. The competition window allows for six.
“With the private schools and charter schools available to participate, along with Moapa able to compete, it will be a great thing for the kids to have the ability to have some activities and competitions,” Trojans cross country coach Erik Odegard said. “It has been a long 10 months for all of us, and any form of normalcy for these athletes will be a positive.”
“I think there is a tentative (schedule) in the works,” Harris said. “I have girls begging to come into the gym to play. I think this would be the best thing we can do for our student-athletes. I believe the benefits far outweigh the risks.”
If approved, football would be cleared to begin competition on time, although the decision is expected Feb. 15, two days after the official start of football practice. Other fall sports can begin official practice a week later.
But the immediate concern from coaches was for the student-athletes in Clark County.
“My first thought is that I feel really bad for their seniors who have missed out on so much this year,” Clayton said. “It is even more unfortunate that it is based on where you live.
“We’ve been hybrid all year and haven’t had too many issues at all.”
“It’s a sad day for all of those seniors and coaches, and my heart goes out to them,” Trojans boys soccer coach Chris Roberts said. “I wish them and their families the best and hope to see the teams next year.”
Other Nye County schools will not be as affected by the CCSD decision, as Beatty, Round Mountain and Tonopah high schools are in a league without Clark County schools. Those three are grouped with Mineral County and Pahranagat Valley for football, with Lund included for volleyball, in the Class 1A Central League.