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NIAA Rules Bar Bishop Gorman, Other State Teams From National Championship Events

After Bishop Gorman’s impressive win over St. John Bosco of Southern California, the talk in Las Vegas was that the Gaels would be headed to a high school football championship in December.

The only problem is the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association rules bar Bishop Gorman or any other Nevada high school team from competing in national championship-style events. NIAA rules prevent high school teams from playing after the completion of the state tournament.

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Eddie Bonine, executive director of the NIAA, told KNPR the board of control met late last month in Reno, and one of the agenda items was whether to permit members schools to compete in these national-championship events.

Bonnie said there was discussion during the meeting but “no vote” was taken to change the rule. The Gaels (6-0) reclaimed their number one ranking in the USA Today Super 25 rankings after a 34-21 win over top ranked St. John Bosco.

Bonnie sent KNPR an email from August from Illinois-based Paragon Marketing Group inquiring if the NIAA would allow member schools to participate in two postseason events. Those events are the Dick’s Nationals basketball tournament and the State Champions Bowl Series.

The decision to keep the ban in place also prevents Nevada teams from participating in the Dick’s Nationals basketball tournament. The only exception is Findlay Prep, which plays by different rules under the NIAA.

Bonnie declined to tape an interview with KNPR, but did answer several questions in an email.

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KNPR: What was the general consensus of the board?

Bonnie: This item was on the NIAA Board of Control agenda as one for discussion. A consensus/vote was not taken. Any answer I or anyone else representing this organization would offer would be speculator on our behalf. A representative from a member school in Southern Nevada, who was in the audience, came forward … identified himself as Grant Rice, assistant athletic director for Bishop Gorman High School and stated to his knowledge there had been no communication about the championship event received by the school and they (Bishop Gorman) had no interest at this time.

KNPR: Will a Nevada team participate in a tournament?

Bonnie: No, not until the NIAA/NAC regulation as it pertains to the length of a season is amended and a philosophical shift of sanctioning by the National Federal of State High school and state associations for national events.

KNPR: Why is there an exception for Findlay Prep?

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Bonnie: Findlay Prep’s NIAA membership is titled Preparatory. Findlay has no Nevada pupils on its roster; they are permitted to recruit their student athletes nationally and internationally; they must adhere to any/all NIAA and NCAA academic standards (but) Findlay Prep is not permitted to participate for NIAA State Championships.
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(Editor's note: Chris Sieroty no longer works for Nevada Public Radio)