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NIAA cancels all spring sporting events, puts Clark in Class 5A

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association announced Thursday at its Board of Control meeting that it has canceled all spring sporting events.

The announcement comes a day after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said schools would continue distance learning through the end of the school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is understood that this is a tremendous disappointment for everyone connected in any way to education-based athletics,” NIAA executive director Bart Thompson said in a statement. “The passion associated with the programs and competition are what make it an effective tool in accomplishing the mission of our member schools.”

In other business at the meeting, Clark’s boys basketball team’s appeal to compete in Class 4A was overturned. The Chargers will be a 5A team.

The Chargers successfully appealed to the realignment committee to play in 4A on April 9. Clark is ranked only behind Bishop Gorman in the NIAA’s competitive balance rubric, which takes into account a team’s performance over the past four seasons.

“The NIAA Board of Control has the final authority to put member schools in classifications, regions and leagues,” NIAA assistant director Donnie Nelson said. “It was discussed among the board that Clark was not a ‘bubble school’ for boys basketball. It was also discussed that Clark County School District principals asked that the rubric’s information include four years of data, instead of just one or two.”

Clark won three straight 3A state championships from 2014 to 2016 and reached the 4A state championship game in 2017 and 2019. The Chargers fell to 6-18 last season, and principal Kerry Lannerd argued the program “is not now what many have come to know, and this past year’s performance demonstrates that fact.”

Palo Verde also will play in 5A for boys basketball after the Board of Control upheld its successful appeal to the realignment committee. The Panthers were 13th in the rubric for Southern Nevada schools, which made it a bubble school since original plans called for 12 teams from the valley to play in 5A.

But Palo Verde has been moved up based on being 16 points behind the 12th-place school in the rubric and showing a recent trend of improvement that included a 21-7 record last season.

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2936. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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