NIAA adopts new transgender position

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The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association adopted its position on transgender student-athletes at its quarterly meeting this week in Reno.

While not a NIAA regulation, the guideline serves as a way to direct member and affiliate schools on the subject.

The transgender athletes will be allowed to compete in sanctioned sports “in accordance with his or her gender identity irrespective to the gender listed on the student’s birth certificate,” the NIAA said in a statement posted on its website.

While no medical treatment is required for students to participate with their identified gender, the athletes must gain eligibility through a detailed three-step process.

Students must serve notice to the school and NIAA then perform a “first level of review.” The review process will be comprised of three individuals who will form a gender identity eligibility committee with at least one physician or mental health professional.

In addition, the review calls for an advocate familiar with gender identity issues, and numerous forms of documentation.

“The NIAA Gender Identity Participation Position Statement is just that, a position statement,” according to a statement from the NIAA. “The NIAA Board of Control has no intent, at this time, to pursue the action of creating a new regulation within the NIAA’s Nevada Administrative Codes. California has a state law to this effect, and this NIAA position statement effectively mirrors one created previously by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. The NIAA is not aware of any potential appeals for transgender participation at this time. The NIAA does, however, want to have possible guidelines in place should such an appeal be brought to the Silver State’s high school athletic organization. The NIAA encourages interested persons to read the full (four-page) position statement — which is posted at the top of the home page on — to gain a full and/or better understanding of the NIAA’s position on transgender participation.”

In other NIAA news —

The Southern Nevada rubric committee is scheduled for a tentative meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 in a public meeting. The location, however, is to be announced but will be in Reno.

Bonine and Dave Wilson, the chair of the committee, will finalize the criteria relating to the Southern Division I (Sunrise and Sunset divisions) and I-A rubric point totals.

The rubric determines which schools in those respective divisions will move up to DI or down to DI-A. Five DI-A schools (Moapa Valley, Virgin Valley, Boulder City, Faith Lutheran and Pahrump Valley) have the option — if they among the top two in DI-A — to remain in their current league.

Donnie Nelson, assistant director of the NIAA, though, said those exemptions have yet to be approved. Any recommendations about those five schools will be made at the Feb. 27 meeting and passed to the Board of Control during its March 31-April 1 meeting.

The NIAA Board of Control approved a three-year contract extension for Executive Director Eddie Bonine, which will run from 2014 through 2017.

Swimmers must compete in at least “50 percent” or more of regular season meets to be eligible for the postseason. In addition, North Tahoe may now compete in swimming and diving.

The board approved guidelines for all-star games during the school year. The item will return to the agenda for a vote.

The board directed the NIAA staff to create a “no flash photography” rule for indoor sports. The item will return as an action item at the spring meeting.


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