NSAA Approves Bowling as Sanctioned Sport and Changes Format to 8-Man Football Playoffs

The NSAA Representative Assembly approved bowling as a sanctioned sport on Thursday (5/21).  It’s the first high school sport to be added in Nebraska since softball in 1993.  Bowling met the minimum three-fifths approval with a 31-20 vote. NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar said the board will begin discussions at its June meeting about how and when to bring bowling on board.  Because of the current COVID-19 situation, resulting school budget concerns, there is the possibility that bowling would not come on board until the 2021-22 school year.  To be determined will be the competition format.

The NSAA also made a decision regarding girls wrestling.  It fell short of the vote needed to make it a sanctioned sport but the NSAA board of directors voted 7-1 to make girls wrestling the first non-Special Olympic activity to gain “emerging sport status”.  As a result, in the next three seasons girls can participate in both their school’s wrestling program and the girls emerging wrestling program. There would not be a separate girls tournament at the start, but the NSAA board could adopt one during the three-year window.

The board also approved starting the eight-man football playoffs with a substate round for the 32 qualifying teams with a split based on geography. The 16 winners will then be placed on a statewide bracket based on seeding through the NSAA point system.  This will replace the current system of 32 teams being split into two 16 team brackets (east and west) with the winner from each bracket advancing to the state championship game.

In other news from Thursday’s meeting, A motion from the floor by Omaha Westside Athletic Director Tom Kerkman to change the Class A enrollment cutoff from 850 students in grades 9-10-11 to 900 failed to advance to a statewide referendum by three votes.

In cross country, Class A cross country districts will be at one site and Class C will expand from 44 to 60 schools.