LAUGHLIN — The season barely was underway. Now, it already might be over.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association announced last week that it is suspending all sanctioned sports over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The NIAA made that determination days before Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered closure of all Nevada K-12 schools until at least April 6.
Laughlin schools officially are closed and Laughlin athletes in spring sports of baseball, softball and track and field are idled until the state says otherwise.
The NIAA decision also affects Needles High School; the Mustangs and Lady Mustangs compete in the NIAA’s 2A South League, along with Laughlin.
Laughlin and Needles were scheduled to open the league softball schedule this week against each other.
“I feel it is very unfortunate for our athletes, especially our seniors,” said Bill Darrow, Needles High School athletics director. “I hope the suspension is short-lived.”
The NIAA in a statement said that the action was taken in consultation with public health officials to implement best practices in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and therefore aid in the protection of students and the general public.
During the suspension, NIAA member schools are not to compete in games or contests. Member schools are not to conduct practices in NIAA-sanctioned sports at any location. Neither member schools nor their coaches nor student-athletes are to hold meetings. Member schools are not to allow students or coaches at any NIAA member school to use the school’s athletic facilities for a practice, game or contest in any NIAA-sanctioned sport regardless of the affliction (club or otherwise) of the group seeking to the use the facilities. The use of athletic facilities for currently scheduled classes as a part of the regular school curriculum such as P.E. classes is allowed.
The NIAA suspension, applying to all member schools, is in part to reduce competitive inequity among member schools when the suspension is lifted. When the suspension is lifted, the minimum practice requirements that have been fulfilled for both teams and individual students before the suspension will be honored and will not be repeated.