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NIAA says no national title games for Nevada teams

The Bishop Gorman football team would have been a prime candidate to be selected for the new State Champions Bowl Series. Too bad the Gaels will not be eligible to participate.

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s Board of Control met last week in Reno, and one of the items up for discussion was whether to permit member schools to compete in national championship-style events. NIAA rules prevent teams from playing after the completion of the state tournament.

“Without speaking on behalf of the board, the general consensus was that there was not an interest to look at amending our regulations to permit a team to play in a … national tournament-type format,” NIAA assistant director Donnie Nelson said this week. “Long story short is if a football game is going to happen on Dec. 27, there will not be a Nevada team in it.”

The Gaels (6-0) reclaimed the top spot in the USA Today Super 25 rankings after Friday’s 34-31 victory over then-No. 1 St. John Bosco (Calif.). Sophomore quarterback Tate Martell, who accounted for three touchdowns in the win, was named the U.S. Army All-American Player of the Week.

The NIAA received an email in August from Illinois-based Paragon Marketing Group inquiring if it would allow member schools to participate in two postseason events: the Dick’s Nationals basketball tournament (formerly the National High School Invitational) and the State Champions Bowl Series.

That correspondence led to the discussion at the Board of Control meeting, though the item was not up for voting.

The State Champions Bowl Series is scheduled to debut Dec. 27 in Florida at a site to be determined and will be televised by the ESPN networks. It will feature one to three games pitting state champions from Florida against other state champs, though it can hardly be considered a true national championship.

“Somebody wrote an article about it (last week), but that’s really the first we’ve heard,” Gorman football coach Tony Sanchez said Monday. “I can’t even comment because I literally won’t even devote one minute of my life thinking about it till this season’s over.”

The decision by the Board of Control to maintain the status quo also prevents an NIAA school from being selected for the Dick’s Nationals basketball tournament. The exception is Findlay Prep, which maintains a unique prep school status within the NIAA.

“I don’t see any Nevada team being permitted to participate in a national championship tournament this school year,” Nelson said. “Will it happen in the future? I don’t know.”

■ GRIMES PICKS BULLDOGS — Former Desert Pines boys basketball player Nate Grimes made an oral commitment to Fresno State on Sunday.

The 6-foot-8-inch Grimes, a first-team Division I-A All-Southern Region pick last season, is playing his senior season at Quality Education Academy (N.C.). He chose the Bulldogs over Boise State, Iowa, San Francisco, Utah State, Washington State and Wichita State.

■ SCHEDULE CHANGE — The NIAA has shifted the date of the regional cross country meets in Southern Nevada.

Originally scheduled for Oct. 31, the region meets have been moved to Oct. 30 and will be at Sunset Park. The Sunrise Region girls meet will be the day’s first race and begin at 10:30 a.m.

Contact reporter David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.

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