High school, youth sports shut down amid COVID 19 global crisis | NevadaAppeal.com

High school, youth sports shut down amid COVID 19 global crisis

By Thomas Ranson

First went the NBA and then the remaining professional sports leagues started to follow.

On Friday, the impact of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID 19, reached state and local levels for high school and youth sports. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association announced the suspension of all NIAA-sanctioned sports for all its member schools effective Monday until further notice. Youth leagues, including the Churchill County Youth Softball Association and Fallon Youth Baseball, also are following suit by suspending their season for the next three weeks.

The NIAA, though, allowed member schools and/or districts the opportunity to continue games through Saturday, which Fallon was able to take advantage. 

Both the varsity baseball and softball teams were playing South Tahoe when the news broke on Friday, and the track and field team traveled to Yerington on Saturday. The boys golf team traveled to Hawthorne for its annual ice-breaker tournament last week and was set to open 3A play this week. The swimming team competed in its first meet over opening weekend. 

Lester de Braga, who’s been at the helm of the varsity baseball team since 2011, found out during the middle of the first game but he didn’t relay the news to his team until after Fallon finished its doubleheader. 

“It was a tough deal to tell them, even for us coaches. We take it to heart and enjoy what we’re doing,” de Braga said. “But that’s just one of those things that you never know.”

The news hits the senior class on another level as this could have been the final time on the field. 

“The seniors put a lot of time and effort in. Some have been in the program for four years,” de Braga said. “I feel for them with it being their last year. It might have been the last time some of them have played baseball.”

For Oasis Academy, though, the softball team was able to complete five games, winning the first four before falling to Wells last week in Las Vegas. The lacrosse teams, which are not affiliated with the NIAA, also saw their season come to a halt. The boys golf team was just getting ready to begin its season, too.

According to the NIAA, the Legislative Commission of the NIAA, consisting of the superintendents of the Nevada school districts with NIAA member schools, took action earlier Friday to suspend non-essential activities at schools which includes NIAA sanctioned sports. The action of the NIAA in implementing the charge of the Legislative Commission is taken in consultation with public health officials to implement best practices in slowing the spread of COVID 19 and, therefore, aid in protection of students and the general public. 

In addition to the suspension of competition throughout the Silver State, NIAA member schools are not allowed to conduct practices, hold meetings or allow students or coaches to use the school’s athletic facilities for practices, games or contests. In other words, the doors and gates are locked and no one’s allowed back in until the NIAA says it’s OK.

At the time, the use of athletic facilities for scheduled classes as a part of the regular school curriculum such as P.E. classes was allowed until Sunday’s announcement from Gov. Steve Sisolak to shutdown all K-12 schools for the next three weeks. The NIAA said that the suspension is in part to reduce competitive inequity among member schools when the suspension is lifted. Earlier in the month, Clark County suspended all high school sports. When the suspension is lifted, the minimum practice requirements that had been fulfilled for both teams and individual students prior to the suspension will be honored and will not need to be repeated.