Nebo School District will not sanction lacrosse for 2019-20 school year

Attacker and midfielder Aaron Norris cradles the ball as he runs up the field. Norris is one of the local athletes that will be affected by the school district’s decision to not sanction lacrosse. (Nicole Norris)

Lacrosse for the 2019-20 season was approved for sanctioning by the Utah High School Activities Association, becoming the 11th sanctioned high school sport in Utah for boys and girls, but the Nebo School District will not be sanctioning the sport before the 2019-20 school year.

Nebo community relations specialist and spokesperson Lana Hiskey said a decision will come, but there are too many implications surrounding the decision for it to be made before the 2019-20 school year begins. Considerations to budgeting, fields, Title IX and filling rosters must first be made.

Hiskey said club teams rent city fields, but the schools will not have fields that are lacrosse ready. Turf is needed for competitive lacrosse in high schools within the Nebo School District, but it can’t be ready by the beginning of the school year.

Hiskey said important considerations must be made to Title IX requirements. If a boys’ team is sanctioned in the Nebo School District, a girls’ team would need to be sanctioned as well in order to fulfill such requirements. A girls’ lacrosse team would not necessarily need to be created, but an equal athletic opportunity would need to be provided for girls in the district.

Having enough players to fill a roster is another area of concern for the district, according to Hiskey, who said she doesn’t believe there are enough lacrosse players to fill rosters at each of the district’s schools. In order to fill rosters, schools would need to combine their teams, or students would need to transfer schools.

Hiskey said parents can help sanction the sport by maintaining good communication with the district. She said the decision-making process goes smoother and relationships are maintained between the district, parents and as fans of the sport when good communication is maintained.

The decision to not sanction the sport of lacrosse will affect many local athletes. Lack of district sanctioning means that club teams in the district will lose their out-of-district competition that belongs to other school districts that recently sanction the sport. The 2019-20 season marks the first year that these schools will play sanctioned lacrosse in Utah.

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