School sports bill gets a time out
Legislation aimed at refereeing a border fight between California and Nevada sports teams may be in for another change.
Senate Bill 489 was set for a vote Tuesday in the Senate, but postponed to give lawmakers another chance to amend it.
The version of SB 489 before lawmakers would have established a second trophy recognizing a Nevada champion in the event a Nevada and California school squared off in a high school championship game and the California team won. It also would have required postseason games to be played in Nevada.
A handful of high school coaches had originally asked the lawmakers to exclude the five California schools, including South Tahoe, Truckee and North Tahoe, that participate in Nevada’s athletic leagues from championship games. They took their case to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, which governs high school sports, before coming to lawmakers, who said they should establish a dual crown instead of booting the California schools. The California schools play in Nevada because they’re closer to the state and travel, especially in winter, can be risky.
Lawmakers debated the bill for several minutes before Sen. Jon Porter, R-Las Vegas, asked that it be postponed for a possible amendment.
Porter said he’s not opposed to the bill, but he wants to talk to representatives from four southern Nevada schools before the vote.
The remarks that preceded his action suggest the bill could have a rough time.
Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, said he would oppose SB 489 because it should have been handled by the NIAA.
Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, asked how meaningful a dual crown would be.
“So if they (California schools) were to go against our kids and beat our kids, we would give our kids a trophy just for participating?” he asked.
Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, was also skeptical.
“I believe that if you’re going to allow schools to be part of a conference or a division, every school should have an equal opportunity to win,” he said. “I would think that without this legislation the association can provide separate trophies if they want to. I really fail to see the need to put this into a statute.”
Sen. Ray Rawson, R-Las Vegas, whose committee suggested the dual crown system, said it’s a recommendation and the NIAA can take it or leave it.
“We tried to find a middle ground,” he said. “My sense of it is we have tried to send a strong message to NIAA that we have constituents who are unhappy with this – take care of it. Maybe we’ll have to disband NIAA. Maybe we’ll have to establish a fair representation or reapportionment.
“This is a strong message. That’s all it is.”
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