Scoop: Ghidotti students won’t be able to participate in NU sports, starting with next year’s freshman class

Ghidotti students won’t be able to participate in Nevada Union High School sports starting with next year’s freshman class at the early college high school, according to a memo reviewed by Sierra Foothills Report.

All current Ghidotti students — freshman through seniors — will be able to play NU sports their entire time until they graduate.

The decision was a disappointment to Ghidotti administrators and some parents and students. The school — ranked No. 1 academically in a statewide assessment of student performance — will be exploring other options for its students in coming months. “I believe that athletics are an important aspect of being a well-balanced individual and am dedicated to finding ways to help facilitate sports in our students’ lives,” said Ghidotti Principal Noah Levinson in a memo.

(Students have other options, including a chance to compete with Bay Area teams, not just local ones. Our son is a student athlete at Ghidotti. He plays competitive club volleyball in leagues in Grass Valley and in Sacramento, and the teams compete against others at tournaments in the Bay Area. It is a highly competitive league, and we think it is good exposure to play teams from Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the East Bay. He also is a first-degree black belt, working on his second degree at Gold Country Kuk Sool Won. His instructor, Tony Reyna, is a 6th degree black belt).

This comes amid change in the NU sports program. The school has been “right sized” into Division 3 sports league from Division 1. The Board of Managers of the Sac-Joaquin Section has approved a realignment for 2018-2022 that removes Nevada Union from the Sierra Football League in Division 1, with teams such as Del Oro and Granite Bay high school, and puts it in the Tri-County Conference in Division 3, with teams from Lincoln and Placer high school. It is more focused on the foothills.

The culprit is declining enrollment at NU, stemming from an aging and declining demographic in western Nevada County — a recurring theme on this blog.

The decision is a disappointment to some families at Ghidotti. “Ghidotti and all high school students of the district should be given an opportunity to develop their minds and bodies,” said one parent in an opinion column in The Union this summer as the plan was being debated. “I believe this is the wrong message to send to our student athletes of our high school district.”

For the second year in a row, Ghidotti ranked first in a statewide assessment of student performance. This is a coup for western Nevada County, competing against the likes of top-performing high schools in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley and Southern California.

I asked NU for a response to this decision and will post it when I receive it.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

One thought on “Scoop: Ghidotti students won’t be able to participate in NU sports, starting with next year’s freshman class”

  1. Here’s the NU response, as promised:

    “Nevada Union High School and Ghidotti Early College High School eliminate the Multi-School Sports Agreement

    “Nevada Union High School agreed to enter into a multi-school sports agreement with Ghidotti Early College High School in 2009. This agreement allowed Ghidotti students to represent Nevada Union High School in CIF sports. When the agreement was made NU enrollment was well in excess of 2000 students and was classified as a Division 1 school. As a result, Ghidotti’s enrollment did not impact NU’s league placement and division classification.

    “In the last several years it has been well chronicled how Nevada Union’s population has declined in ways no one could have predicted. While, on average, 15-25 Ghidotti students participate in NU Athletics each year, the addition of Ghidotti’s entire enrollment has pushed NU into a higher enrollment division than they would be placed without the Ghidotti’s enrollment.

    “The multi-school agreement is a luxury Nevada Union can no longer support. The decision to eliminate this agreement was a very difficult decision for the NU Leadership Team. CIF rules have presented NU with some tough league affiliation challenges over the past years. Due to CIF rules, supporting Ghidotti has been one of the factors that has weighed adversely against NU to be properly placed in the appropriate league and enrollment classification.

    “NU has greatly enjoyed these past few years working with the Ghidotti student-athletes. However, our range of options to offer continued support is diminished as we work to reach our school’s goals, particularly in sports programs to be competing in the proper league and in the right enrollment classification. It is for these reasons that Nevada Union High School will no longer support the multi-school agreement with Ghidotti Early College High School. Those students from Ghidotti who are currently playing will be allowed to continue to represent Nevada Union High School in sports through their graduation year, but students enrolling at Ghidotti next year will not have this option available to them.

    Kelly Rhoden, Principal
    Jeff Dellis, Athletic Director”

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