NIAA watching South Tahoe situation |

NIAA watching South Tahoe situation

Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
So what does the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association think about the plight of South Tahoe High's ath

Tuesday was the deadline for STHS announcing its intention to compete in the Nevada 4A Sierra Division next school year. STHS Athletic Director Don Borges attended a scheduling meeting at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks, so the NIAA is expecting the school to field its complete allotment of teams as in years past.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District voted last week to proceed with high school athletics as usual provided that more than $150,000 in budget cuts can be raised through donations.

“I wouldn’t say we’re worried about it … just keeping a watchful eye on what’s going on and being concerned is where we’re at,” said NIAA Assistant Director Jay Beesemyer.

If the high school can only field varsity and JV teams will that be frowned upon and what if the Vikings only have enough money to put major sports teams in uniform?

“We don’t have a stance per se. We don’t like to see teams start out varsity programs and then halfway through the season they can’t field a team,” Beesemyer said. “Strictly looking at it from a competitive point of view, don’t go scheduling games and then canceling them because that affects everybody. That’s not fair to the kids.

“The league was asking them to make a decision now so they can make their schedules and other schools aren’t affected down the road.”

South Tahoe High administrators have always been accommodating to a fault to the NIAA – mindful that the Nevada prep governing body only needed one good reason to send the school scurrying for a league on the other side of Echo Summit. But Beesemyer said STHS isn’t facing an added pressure to field all of its varsity teams because it is one of five California schools in the Nevada association.

“We don’t look at it as a California issue,” he said. “All of our schools are treated the same whether they are in California or Nevada.”

The high school’s deadlines for protecting the sports for each season are daunting, especially for fall sports, which need at least $46,960 in donations by July 16. The cache of winter and spring sports depends on raising $44,500 and $45,000 by Oct. 15 and January, respectively.

If the deadlines aren’t met, the school must decide which teams it will cut to fall within budget limits. As mentioned earlier this week, Alpine skiing may even be on the chopping block. Imagine that, a mountain community cutting a ski team.

Cross country skiing and cheer teams may also be the first to go if budget deadlines aren’t met.

School administrators and parents began planning for the time-constrained fundraising efforts on Tuesday. Fortunately, there are many people in the community who care.

Expect more creative fundraising than the car washes, candy sales and run-a-thons that are the staples of youth sports fundraising. A devoted group of parents – the same ones who made sure the youth leagues ran smoothly in years past – will do all they can to guarantee that their kids will be given the same opportunities as children in other school districts.

If South Tahoe Middle School parents spring into action, they should have an excellent chance of raising the $29,000 needed to fully fund the school’s athletic programs.

One caller on Friday voiced opposition to retaining sports at the middle school. He said they weren’t as necessary since there are a variety of youth sports leagues in the community.

But those leagues charge parents as much as $140 to participate, while middle school sports fit into any family’s budget.

More and more school districts will encounter what LTUSD is now experiencing. There isn’t much of a precedent, especially since students in our pricey state can’t legally be charged to participate in sports.

It’s a tough time, but mountain dwellers seem to be tougher than most. Do your part, even if it means having your car washed when it isn’t dirty.

– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or

Support Local Journalism

Your support means a better informed community. Donate today.