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NIAA cancels basketball, wrestling seasons

Updated January 26, 2021 - 5:05 pm

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association on Tuesday announced it has canceled the basketball and wrestling seasons, with the possibility of having at most one day of competition.

In its announcement, the NIAA cited Gov. Steve Sisolak’s statewide pause that affected close- or full-contact sports and will run through at least Feb. 14. The winter sports season is scheduled to end Feb. 20, and the NIAA has shown no interest in moving that date to allow for competition.

For one day of competition to occur, the following would need to occur. NIAA rules require five days of practice before competition. If the statewide pause is lifted Feb. 14 and basketball and wrestling are removed from the no-play list, practice could resume Feb. 15-19 with one competition held Feb. 20.

That would provide the opportunity for schools to have a senior night for their athletes in those sports.

The NIAA has twice asked the governor’s office to reconsider wrestling and basketball’s place on the no-play list, but those requests have been rejected.

Tuesday’s announcement affects non-Clark County School District schools in Southern Nevada. CCSD canceled winter sports for its member schools Dec. 1.

The flag football season is underway for non-CCSD schools in Southern Nevada, while skiing meets are being held in the northern part of the state.

“I think we had already been resolvedto the fact that it was going to be a difficult for us to get a wrestling and basketball season in,” SLAM! Nevada athletic director Mike Cofer said of Tuesday’s announcement.

SLAM! Nevada has built one of the top Class 3A wrestling programs in the state in its four years of existence.

The Bulls finished second at last year’s state meet and had individual state champions in seven weight classes. They hoped to take the final step and end Spring Creek High’s four-year reign atop the state.

“We had high hopes and high expectations for the wrestling program,” Cofer said. “It’s hugely disappointing for the coaches, kids and families who felt like they had built something special that would set the traditions and some foundations, and be the standard-bearer for our school, boys and girls.”

Lake Mead Academy’s boys basketball team was hoping to play in a competitive 2A Southern League with teams like Lincoln County and The Meadows that all had state championship aspirations.

Lake Mead coach Jeff Newton said he’s holding out hope not only to play for one day but to have a semblance of a league schedule outside the confines of the NIAA season, once the governor’s restrictions are lifted.

“We absolutely would want to do something like (senior night),” Lake Mead boys basketball coach Jeff Newton said. “We would do it in a heartbeat. But we’re not really holding out hope for one day. We’d want to play the best teams in our league.”

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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