Sandoval adds spice and academics to UNR, UNLV rivalry

CARSON CITY – Surrounded by cheerleaders, academicians and mascots Hey Reb and Wolfie, Gov. Brian Sandoval on Monday announced an annual "Governor’s Series" pitting UNLV and UNR athletes against each other – on the playing field and in the classroom.

"There always has been a great rivalry, but this adds a little more," Sandoval said during a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion.

Student-athletes won’t just think about winning games now, Sandoval said. They’ll also be motivated to get better grades.

"We expect ferocious competition," he said. "But it is imperative we remain respectful and show sportsmanship."

Three points will be awarded to the school that wins the head-to-head athletic competition in each of 15 sports. Another three points will be awarded to the team that performs better in the classroom, based on an NCAA formula. At the end of the school year, the winning university will be awarded the Governor’s Cup.

UNLV officials joked that they already are ahead this year because the Rebels won their volleyball match against UNR.

The not-yet-designed trophy won’t replace the Fremont Cannon, which goes to the winner of the annual football game. UNR has held the cannon for seven seasons, and UNLV will try to win it back at noon Saturday in Las Vegas.

Sandoval, wearing a Rebel scarlet and Wolf Pack blue tie, insisted he’ll be cheering for both universities Saturday. But the UNR grad admitted impartiality might be difficult.

"You know the old saying that you have to be true to your school," Sandoval said. "But I have profound respect for UNLV."

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