Las Vegas Sun

October 6, 2022

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NIAA settles in lawsuit over high school soccer season

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association agreed to settle out of court Wednesday with a parent of a Green Valley High athlete who sued the association after it wouldn’t recognize the Clark County School District’s girls soccer season this winter.

Under terms of the settlement, the association will award dual state champions again this year — in the fall of 2008 for Northern Nevada schools and in the winter of 2009 for Southern Nevada schools.

The association voted three years ago to move girls soccer to the winter to create a true champion as both parts of the state would play in the same season.

“I want to extend my apology to all of the 4A girls soccer players that have lost this opportunity to participate in a Southern Nevada-Northern Nevada state tournament format,” Ed Bonine, the association’s executive director, said in a statement.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on behalf of Green Valley High sophomore Emma Johnson, claims the NIAA violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 when it moved soccer from the winter to the fall. Title IX guarantees no person in the United States will be denied, based on sex, equal opportunity to educational programs that receive federal financial assistance.

Johnson plays volleyball in the fall and soccer in the winter for the Gators.

The move, according to the lawsuit, limits the number of opportunities for girls in the winter compared to opportunities for boys in that same season.

The lawsuit was filed by Johnson’s father, Eric Johnson, on April 1 against the association and the Clark County School District. He removed the district from the lawsuit after it decided to continue playing in the winter for at least one year while a Title IX consultant reviewed the legality of the move.

Lawyers for both the association and school district will continue investigating Title IX ramifications with hopes of adding another winter sport for girls and moving soccer to the fall, Johnson said.

Johnson said he was in negotiations with the association for the past month.

“The association has agreed to assist the district in creating a new sport,” Eric Johnson said. “That is what we always wanted to come out of this situation in the first place.”

Sports Editor Ray Brewer can be reached at [email protected] or 990-2662.

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