NSAA votes to add bowling as HS varsity sport

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LINCOLN, Neb. - The NSAA Representative Assembly met Thursday and voted on the motion to sanction bowling as a high school varsity sport for the 2020-21 school year. High school girls wrestling is considered an emerging sport.

The motion to approve bowling needed 31 votes to pass out of of 51 total votes. Bowling received the 31 votes for narrow approval.

Bowling was previously held as a club sport in Nebraska with a state tournament.

Bowling will be held in the winter sports season and be separate from unified bowling. Athletes can compete on both teams, according to Dan Keyser, a member of the NSAA Board of Directors, but it is possible the two seasons overlap.

Club bowling teams were more prevalent in eastern Nebraska, compared to western Nebraska, so Keyser expects the eastern part of the state to have more varsity bowling teams. However, Keyser said smaller schools, or towns without bowling alleys, could form co-ops to create teams.

District meets will be held for athletes to qualify for the state meet, and athletes will be able to qualify as an individual or as part of a team, similarly to how the varsity golf district and state meets work.

In the 2018 season, there were 60 club bowling teams representing 40 schools, according to former Nebraska High School Bowling Commissioner, John Losito.

Girls wrestling did not receive the necessary 31 votes in favor to become a sanctioned sport, so it will be considered an emerging sport, and will start in the winter of 2020.

Girls wrestling will have a three-year window to become a sanctioned sport, during which time the NSAA will continue to work out details and guidelines about the sport. While it is an emerging sport, female and male wrestlers can participate on the same team, and compete against each other.

Once the sport becomes sanctioned, girls and boys teams at the same school can practice with one another, but the teams would compete separately.