Return to play announced by NIAA; Truckee, North Tahoe seasons remain uncertain

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association provided an update Wednesday on high school sports, paving the way for fall sports, including football, to return to competition following Gov. Steve Sisolak’s removal of the sport from the state’s no-play list.

While fall sports governed by the association, which Truckee and North Tahoe compete in, are cleared to begin competing March 4, schools within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District remain, for the time being, on the outside looking in.

The school district said earlier this month that it sought legal guidance on the matter and was told travel outside of California for competition is prohibited due to links to several multi-state and multi-jurisdictional outbreaks. In the California Department of Public Health’s most recent update on outdoor and indoor youth and recreational guidelines, it states “teams must not participate in out-of-state tournaments,” leaving some uncertainty surrounding competition at the high school level in the Truckee-Tahoe area. The school district didn’t return a request for comment following Wednesday evening’s Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association meeting.

Additionally, due to the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District being headquartered in Placer County, which is in the state’s purple tier, only Nordic skiing and snowboarding (sports not regulated by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association) are currently allowed to be contested. Those seasons got underway earlier this month.

Other fall sports like golf, cross-country, and tennis could be contested under state guidelines, but due to competing in leagues mostly in Nevada, those contests aren’t currently permitted. Programs could potentially schedule contests against schools within the county or neighboring counties.

Marquee fall sports like volleyball, soccer and football would also require the county to move down from the purple tier into the orange, or moderate, tier.

While much remains uncertain about high school sports in the area, Truckee Head Football Coach Josh Ivens said he is optimistic that a season, in some form, could take place, and added that he has worked to tentatively schedule games against in-state schools with hopes of getting the Wolverines onto the gridiron for at least a few contests, should the district’s restrictions about competing in Nevada remain in place.

“I’m excited for Nevada,” said Ivens on the return of fall sports. “And to have that news come out will hopefully put some pressure on California lawmakers to shift some things.”

Before full-contact sports, like football, can take place within the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, testing and mitigation plans must first be adopted, likely adding another layer of complication to seasons getting underway.

“A plan must require a minimum of weekly testing of coaches, staff and athletes,” said Sisolak during Wednesday’s announcement.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at or 530-550-2643.

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