NIAA explains its reasoning for allowing football, shutting down basketball, wrestling seasons

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 6:06 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Roughly a week after Governor Steve Sisolak gave full-contact sports the green light to return, high school athletes and their parents wanted answers: why are sports like football now allowed back? What does this mean for basketball and wrestling?

“From our hearts, we’re sorry,” NIAA assistant director Donnie Nelson said of the cancellation of the wrestling and basketball seasons. “Time has simply run out on the winter sports season. Basketball and wrestling seasons are officially over.”

What was the NIAA’s reasoning?

By the time Governor Sisolak removed full-contact sports from his restricted list - which included wrestling and basketball - the winter sports season those activities were a part of only had three days left on the schedule. With the fall season approaching football would have enough time to be played.

In a statement from the NIAA Thursday, Nelson said the winter season had to go first upon return to play so as not to have outdoor sports face bad weather conditions.

That had families wondering why the NIAA couldn’t just move basketball and wrestling to a different ‘season’.

“Our schools, and our membership indicate that they did not want to move sports out of the season they are traditionally played in on top of other sports seasons,” said NIAA executive director, Bart Thompson.

Meaning, hypothetically, if basketball or wrestling got moved it would force student-athletes to pick that sport over one already scheduled for fall or spring.

The numbers would not have worked out. In this hypothetical, with more available sports to play, individual teams would have less participation. That would be detrimental to smaller schools who rely on athletes to play multiple sports during a school year. Not having enough bodies could force teams to fold altogether.

Fall sports are scheduled to run from March 5 until April 10. Spring sports run from April 3 to May 22.

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