If the Trojans boys soccer team needs a win at the end of the season to make the playoffs, then this past week may come back to haunt them. On Monday, the Adelson boys soccer team came to play a game. The Schedule said it was a league game, but the Trojans were confused and believed otherwise.
Backing up a bit, the Trojans boys’ soccer team had a great three games up in Northern Nevada last week, where they won two games and tied the third. After the games up north, Trojans Coach Don Boulden was concerned with the number of games they played.
Boulden said the games played up north counted on their schedule towards the number of games played in a season and that can’t be more than 18. He then told the PVT that they were going to have to cancel a game and it was going to be Adelson and this would give them 18 games. The girls team had the same problem and dropped their scheduled game with Bishop Gorman, a definite non-conference game.
Boulden was sure that the Adelson game was not a league game. He then checked with the athletic director, Ed Kirkwood. Kirkwood also believed that this was not a league game.
On Monday the Trojans junior varsity boys played instead of the varsity squad. The Adelson Lions beat them 6-2. Nevada Preps scored the game as a league loss.
On Tuesday, Kirkwood said the same thing the coach said, “Adelson is a Division IV school and not in our league.” He was still adamant about this. Normally for any other sport though he would have been correct, but for soccer he was wrong. According to Assistant Director of the NIAA Donnie Nelson, Adelson plays in the 1-A in soccer because there is no soccer in Division IV, so they play up. This is why Kirkwood and Boulden didn’t think that Adelson was a Division 1-A team, this is the only sport they play in Division 1-A.
Kirkwood later talked to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association and confirmed the error. “If I had known it was a league game I would have told the coach to play the varsity team and not the junior varsity team,” Kirkwood said. “Adelson had petitioned to be in 1-A and we were unaware that they were even in our league. We have seen them on our schedule and it usually has been a very lopsided score, so we didn’t think anything of playing our junior varsity on Monday.”
Donnie Nelson, the assistant director of the NIAA, told the PVT it was an easy mistake to make. “It was considered a league game,” Nelson explained. “There is a lot of things that we are trying to get cleared up for this new athletic staff and you know what, they are learning. I don’t think they understood the concept of substituting games for tournaments and things like that. I hope this does not come back to haunt them at the end of the season. Tournaments are meant to help a team so they don’t go over game limits. It’s a very unfortunate situation and I feel for them.”
Nelson said the whole situation could have been avoided with a closer look at the regulations. “For soccer, the rule is a team is permitted 18 regular season games plus two tournaments. A subsequent rule to that is a team can substitute two or three games for one tournament and vice versa. So if Pahrump has one tournament on their schedule and 19 individual games, they would still be OK. So they could have gone up to 21 games. I am just not sure they understood that. So, they were really fine and they never were over the limit,” Nelson said.
Kirkwood said Nelson was right, he didn’t understand it. “It’s hard to understand a regulation you can’t find in the book. I had Evan looking this regulation up all day yesterday and it was nowhere to be found,” he said with frustration.
The PVT looked up the rule on the NIAA website and it says, “Maximum contact limit is 18 games plus two tournaments.” That is it. There is no other explanation. The Trojans might have a basis for appeal.
In the end, the Trojans had to bite the bullet on this one. Adelson probably got their only win of the season on an administrative error that probably will never happen again. The Trojans boast one of the best athletic administrations in the NIAA with over a half century of experience. Kirkwood alone has over 40 years of coaching.