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Swenson: There are consequences

Nevada Joint Union High School District Superintendent Ralf Swenson has decided to uphold the forfeiture of Bear River’s girls basketball season and the athletic suspension of four other winter athletes after discussing the matter with the board of education Tuesday.

Swenson is not accepting the appeal to suspend all punishments of student athletes involved after a closed session with the board to discuss “anticipated litigation,” according to the meeting’s agenda.

“I just believe the decision was correct,” Swenson said of Bear River’s administrators application of the athletic code.



The girls basketball season was canceled after it was discovered that 10 of the 11 team players were found to be in violation of the athletic code as well two snowboarders, a boys basketball player and a cheerleader.

Parents and students alike have admitted there was drinking at a private party in Granite Bay, which falls under illegal substances portion of the athletic code.




Parents alleged that the athletic code didn’t apply because it wasn’t a “school-related” activity as described in section K, the scope of the code’s application. Yet, administrators pointed to section J of the code, which explicitly forbids the use of illegal substances.

The parents appealed to the superintendent after they said their concerns fell on deaf ears when confronted with the outcome by Bear River’s administrators. The season was forfeited Jan. 29 with three weeks of games remaining.

Because the athletic code’s illegal substances portion – which includes alcohol – was violated, the 14 student-athletes were put on a 30-calendar day athletic suspension that effectively ended Bear River’s season with a majority of its players sidelined.

The penalty for violating the code is outlined in the four-page document itself, which has to be signed off by the student athlete and one parent or guardian.

“I just feel this is an appropriate decision for all of our students that Bear River’s administrators applied the code,” Swenson said. “Not just our student athletes.

“There are consequences.”

Some parents lamented the response by Swenson, after what was deemed a positive meeting Friday with the superintendent.

“I was just hoping that he would let the girls play their last couple of games and hopefully the playoffs,” said parent and team scorekeeper Larry Uno. “My daughter’s going to be definitely dissapointed. (A reversal) looked promising in the meetings, but apparently not. He decided to stick to his guns.”

Grant Greven, also a parent of a girls basketball player was also dissapointed.

“It’s unfortunate,” Greven said. “We realize he didn’t have room to back down. The contract is a terrible contract. Hopefully, good things come out of it, they redo the contract and they have guidelines for how they interview kids.

“A lot of lessons have been learned,” Greven continued. “If there’s one kid that decides to not drink and drive, or drink … I guess that’s a good thing that comes out of it.

“That’s the way we have to see it.”

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To contact Sports Writer Zuri Berry, e-mail zberry@theunion.com or call 477-4244.


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