There are interesting things brewing with the Nebraska School Athletics Association.

District meetings in early November included a conversation about sanctioning girls wrestling in the state of Nebraska at the high school level.

Sally Roberts, Executive Director of Wrestle Like a Girl, a nonprofit organization that works to empower girls and women in the sport, spoke with Matt Kumrie of Team USA in May about the positive importance of girls wrestling.

“The growth of female wrestling is critical to the sport of wrestling at large because it opens up the sport to the other half of the population--girls and women,” Roberts said.

Ron Powell of the Lincoln Journal Star outlined the motion in front of the district members in Nebraska in his Nov. 23 story.

Powell said the motion calls for a two-year transition period that would allow girls the option of competing in the boys’ lineup during regular-season contests if there are no girls to compete at their class.

The proposal goes on to outline that after a two-year transition period, the NSAA girls wrestling advisory committee will decide whether participant numbers are enough for girls-only competition separate from the boys.

This is not the first time that a proposal like this has been in front of the NSAA. Powell’s article said last year’s proposal asked for a more complete separation for the girls and Representative Assembly members were concerned that would cut down opportunities for some female wrestlers to compete.

Further, if a school had a girls’ wrestling team, it would have kept girls from wrestling boys from other schools at a meet, even if there were no girls to compete in that weight class.

Girls wrestling is becoming more of a norm on the high school sports scene, and some competitors are saying that the roadblocks to the sport being sanctioned for girls are not the competitors.

“There exists a taboo on co-gendered sports of any kind of physicality. And it’s not the athletes,” wrote Charlotte Barron of Sewanee, Tennessee, in a nonprofit student website studentvoice.org. “In fact, the boys I wrestle, both in practice and live match have never made me feel inferior. My gender plays no role between opponents.”

When Title IX was signed into law in 1972, and compliance becoming mandatory in 1978, the general outlook on sports at the high school level changed so that girls would be afforded the same opportunities as the boy athletes.

I don’t believe that the absence of girls’ wrestling is a Title IX issue in Gothenburg. There are activities available to all students, regardless of gender, that create an environment of inclusion and sportsmanship.

In a world where there is a lot of conversation around inclusion, this seems to be a pretty great opportunity for female athletes statewide.

Gothenburg High School Athletic Director Marc Mroczek said that each school will have the option of participating or not if it passes and that other states that have sanction girls wrestling have had pretty good participation numbers.

“I’m not sure of the interest here yet for girls wrestling,” Mroczek said. “I would be curious to see how it will impact us as a smaller school compared to a larger school.”

So if this proposal is passed, it means there is another door that is opened to our Lady Swedes who may not have an interest in the current options available.

Contact Rebecca Steward at rebecca@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.536.6499