The Clark County School District announced Wednesday that students can play spring sports, but interscholastic competition in fall sports remains canceled.
CCSD’s plan calls for practices for spring sports to begin April 3, with competition starting April 16 for baseball, boys golf, boys volleyball, softball, swimming and diving, and track and field. April 16 is the day the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association designated as the beginning of the spring sports season when it revised the athletic calendar last summer because of COVID-19.
Fall sports cross country, soccer, girls golf, girls volleyball and tennis will be offered as intramurals from May 3 to 22. Football also will fall under the intramural umbrella and will run from April 5 to May 1, with 20 days of practice leading to a one-hour intrasquad competition.
The first spring competition will mark the end of a nearly 13-month drought without CCSD having participated in a sporting event. The spring season was just underway when COVID-19 shut it down in March 2020.
“That’s one thing our athletic department was looking at was these (spring sport athletes) are kids that missed out this year, and we were concerned about them missing two years of athletics and competitions,” CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara said Wednesday. “It was one of the factors we were looking at to bring our student-athletes in.”
Athletes, coaches and staff members will be required to be tested for COVID-19 once a week in accordance with NIAA rules.
Jara has said all along that CCSD would not bring back sports until students returned to the classroom. The time line for reopening includes grades six, nine and 12 to begin a hybrid learning model March 22, with grades seven, eight, 10 and 11 following April 6.
It was previously announced that prekindergarten through third grade would begin a hybrid model Monday. Jara updated that Wednesday by saying prekindergarten through fifth grade would begin five-day in-person learning April 6.
While Wednesday’s news thrilled athletes who compete in spring sports, it didn’t appease those who were calling for CCSD’s immediate return to sports.
“Here’s the huge problem: This wasn’t voted upon,” said Anna Binder, who has six children in CCSD and has been active in advocating for the return of sports. “This wasn’t an agenda item. This was a dictative move by Jara. I have an uproar of football and basketball parents going, ‘This isn’t fair.’ ”
Binder said the announcement did nothing to quell plans for a rally before Thursday’s CCSD school board meeting, the first one that will be held in person this school year.
Liberty coach Rich Muraco said the original proposal sent to CCSD called for seniors to be excluded from football because the time will be used to prepare for the 2021 fall season, but Jara wants them to be included.
One bone of contention for some is that no spectators will be allowed.
Dennis Goughnour, one of the founders of Let Them Play Nevada and most vocal advocates for bringing back high school sports, noted that UNLV has allowed limited spectators to its basketball games and the Golden Knights will soon do the same.
“There were some tiny victories (in CCSD’s announcement), but no spectators?” Goughnour said. “There’s spectators everywhere.”