Steve Puterski

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July 1, 2012
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Gorman debate rages on

Bishop Gorman was again the hot topic of discussion at the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association's Board of Control meeting Monday and Tuesday at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Schools throughout the state have hammered Gorman about its meteoric rise to national prominence in football, basketball and baseball. The Gaels have won the past seven 4A state baseball titles, three of the past four championships in football and basketball.

For the past year, schools throughout the state, the Clark County School District and the NIAA have had numerous discussion regarding issues relating to illegal recruiting, financial aid and fairness of play.

Western High School forfeited a football game against the Gaels last year after a hazing incident left the Warriors without most of its varsity roster. After Gorman's 72-28 thrashing of Reed in the 4A title game last year, many southern schools spoke of boycotting games against Gorman.

Gorman pounded Hug, 96-51, in the 4A basketball title game, but the Hawks claimed to be victors of the "public school" title after their semifinal win over Green Valley. Various media reports indicated the Hawks knew they had little chance to beat Gorman, and after the humiliating defeat, claimed the invented title of public school champ.

Del Sol did the same after a 62-21 defeat in the 2009 football title game and even hung a banner declaring themselves public school champions. In addition, Gorman has only lost to one in-state opponent in the past five years.

Officials from Gorman, though, offered a more transparent look into the Las Vegas private school in an attempt to ease concern from other schools, CCSD and the NIAA, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Bishop Gorman president John Kilduff highlighted six areas the school would address and asked for three things in return.

According to the Review-Journal, Kilduff asked for:

• Require parents/guardians and student-athletes to sign a form agreeing to abide by NIAA rules and regulations addressing recruiting and tuition assistance, and agree that they understand the consequences for violation of these rules range from ineligibility to expulsion;

• Require all potential transfer students and a parent/guardian to answer and have notarized a questionnaire which includes, but is not limited to, questions regarding recruiting, tuition assistance, residency and prior contact with Gorman coaches;

• Agree to inform the NIAA as soon as the school identifies a student that receives more than 50 percent in tuition assistance is participating in a sanctioned sport. The school would cooperate with any inquiry made by the NIAA;

• Agree to add to its tuition assistance agreement the line, "Accordingly, I agree to fully cooperate with the school and the NIAA in any investigation that may be brought regarding my son/daughter's athletic eligibility, including providing a brief affidavit which identifies the source of funds used to pay the tuition of my son/daughter";

• And would assist the NIAA in conducting any bona fide investigation authorized by an NIAA executive committee upon a specific finding of reasonable suspicion of an NIAA rule violation. The NIAA will require similar assistance from CCSD member schools, particularly in cases involving suspected zone violations or recruiting.

Gorman's three requests included:

• The NIAA and CCSD to not permit CCSD schools to forfeit athletic competitions with Gorman, and delineate meaningful sanctions for such forfeitures;

• The CCSD administration to promote and encourage nonleague competition with Gorman and not condone any conspiratorial/group pressure or influence by principals to frustrate possible nonleague competition;

• And the NIAA to schedule public and private school meetings three times each year.

Gorman's action is in response to numerous schools' allegations of recruiting and laxed financial assistance standards for athletes.

In addition, the NIAA and numerous schools formed a committee in the winter to discuss creating separate leagues for public and private schools. The committee, though, has yet to bring any proposals forward to the NIAA and motivation for the leagues may have run its course.

The Gaels also felt slighted after being snubbed for the annual Sollenberger Classic, a football game pitting a Nevada school against an Arizona school. In years past, the past state champions from each of the state's two highest classifications received an invite, although Gorman was passed over this year in favor of Palo Verde.

The Panthers have lost four games in the past three seasons and will play Desert Vista.

According to the Review-Journal, no criteria has been written by the NIAA or the Arizona Interscholastic Association mandating a state champion play in the game.

Truckee, meanwhile, has won the previous three 3A state titles and has received only one invite to the game. The Wolverines declined last year's invitation.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jul 1, 2012 12:52AM Published Jul 1, 2012 12:50AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.