The NSAA Representative Assembly already had on Thursday’s agenda proposals to add bowling and girls wrestling to the state’s championship lineup.
Its Zoom meeting now will extend a little longer.
Omaha Westside Athletic Director Tom Kerkman is bringing a proposal from the floor to raise the cutoff for Class A from 850 students in grades 9-10-11 to 900 starting in the 2022-23 school year. It would not apply to football, which counts boys only. That cutoff is 425.
Based on latest enrollments, North Platte, Lincoln Pius X and South Sioux City would be below the 900 threshold. Kerkman said Pius X intends to opt up to stay in Class A with the rest of the Heartland Conference.
Kerkman said with the Omaha Public Schools opening two new schools in 2022-23 and the Lincoln Public Schools opening two more in the next few years, his proposal would better balance the number of schools in the state’s two largest classes.
“We need to stay ahead of the curve in enrollment,” he said.
If legislative district voting is an indicator, bowling may be approved ahead of girls wrestling by the NSAA. In January, bowling was favored in the four easternmost districts, which have the most votes in the Representative Assembly. Adoption requires passage by a three-fifths majority.
Girls wrestling was favored in the same districts except District 1, the Lincoln area, and District 5 was a deadlock. The Legislative Commission vote in February also was a 7-7 tie. But Districts 2, 3 and 4 control 31 votes at the assembly — the minimum needed for passage Thursday if all 51 delegates are voting — and they represented the seven favorable votes at the commission.
If girls wrestling is voted down, the NSAA board could vote Thursday to make it an emerging sport. Over three seasons girls would be permitted to 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.
Bridgeport's Jerzie Menke is helping lead the charge for gender equality in high school wrestling. After winning a state title at the girls wrestling tournament, Menke attempted to qualify for the boy's state championships.