Girls wrestling falls one vote shy of adoption by NSAA; Bowling also voted down

LINCOLN — Bowling and girls wrestling will not be added next school year to the slate of sanctioned sports in Nebraska high schools.

Neither sport got sufficient support at Friday’s NSAA Representative Assembly for adoption. Girls wrestling missed by one vote, 29-21, with 30 votes needed.

Bowling was turned down with only 23 of the 50 delegates voting for it.

Jay Bellar, the NSAA’s first-year executive director, said after the meeting he knew the vote on girls wrestling would be close.

“Half of our population out there really wants to know what it’s going to look like before it happens,” the former Battle Creek superintendent said. “And there’s the other half thinking we’re not going to know that until we get into this, so let’s get started and see how we can do this.

“I think there’s just enough question, or probably confusion, that the vote turned out the way it did.”

The vote somewhat mirrored the results of voting by schools in district meetings in January. District I deviated the most, with only two of its 10 votes Friday in favor (20%). Its schools showed 42% approval. District II (70% in districts) voted 12-6 Friday, District III (73%) was 5-1, District IV (70%) was 5-1, District V (35%) was 1-4 and District VI (71%) was 4-1.

In bowling, District I (63%) was 6-4, District II (30%) was 8-10, District III (71%) was 3-3, District IV (54%) was 5-1, District V (14%) was 0-5 and District VI (19%) was 1-4.

There was no discussion on the bowling proposal before the vote. Only two delegates had questions during discussion to create a separate girls wrestling championship.

Girls still can be on a school’s wrestling team and compete against boys.

The Catholic Diocese of Lincoln has a policy against boys wrestling girls. Four delegates were from Catholic schools — NSAA board member Bob Reznicek of Boys Town, Rochelle Rohlfs of Omaha Marian and Donn Kasner from Omaha Skutt in District II and Jeff Bellar (brother of the NSAA executive director) in District I. Kasner and Bellar cast yes votes, and the other two voted no.

The assembly also overwhelmingly voted to make students who transfer back to high schools in their home districts ineligible for 90 school days.