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Commentary: The case for Gorman
by Nathan Shoup
Dec 07, 2013 | 2523 views | 9 9 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bishop Gorman is the best prep football program in Nevada. The massive private school out of Las Vegas wrapped up its fifth consecutive state title Saturday, with its 48-14 win over Reed at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The Gaels have not lost a game to a Nevada school since 2008, when they fell in the third round of the playoffs to Palo Verde. Bishop Gorman has outscored opponents 285-73 in its last five state title wins – it also won the title in 2007 after falling in the 2008 playoffs.

Cue that time of the year where countless fans and onlookers make the claim it is unfair for the private school to compete for state titles due to the school’s financial backing.

“It stirs up this time of the year every year,” the NIAA's (Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association) Executive Director Eddie Bonine said. “So I’m not concerned about it getting stirred up. It comes all the time. We have addressed it. We have talked to the school a year, year and-a-half, ago and we put in some safeguards that all privates schools have in regards to finance.”

Last year, the NIAA established a committee to investigate Bishop Gorman’s athletic practices and did not find evidence of any wrongdoings. Many outside of the Gaels’ circle claim the school recruits. Bonine said the committee could not prove that.

“They have crossed every ‘T’ and dotted every ‘I,’ again, when it came down to the committee there were no specific cases that could be proven that they have done ‘this’ or done ‘that,’” Bonine said. “They have done everything I’ve asked them too.”

Innocent until proven guilty.

Until or unless the NIAA finds that Bishop Gorman does in fact, recruit, most inside the state offense believe it's time to put the claims and arguments to rest.

Yes, the school's facilities are disgusting (they can be seen on the football team’s website, http://www.bggaelsfootball.com). Sure, their uniforms are more reminiscent of the look you see on Saturday afternoons than Friday nights. And absolutely, those boys are big. The Gaels had eight players on their roster at 6’ 3” or taller.

But when Reed lined up against Bishop Gorman Saturday afternoon, they were looking across the field at fellow 17- and 18-year-old kids. They weren’t playing the Dallas Cowboys (Dallas running back DeMarco Murray is a Bishop Gorman alum).

“You are talking to the wrong guy if you think that I think they should be out, I’ll tell you that,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said minutes after Saturday’s loss. “I will say it loud and proud right now, I have no problem with Gorman being the Division I. They are high school kids too. Coach (Tony) Sanchez and those guys just happen to do things at a very high level. Shame on anybody that complains, ‘oh, they should be out,’ for all these various reasons.”

Howren chose to give that response moments after talking to his 2013 team for the final time, most of which had tears in their eyes. He gave that response while watching Gorman hoist the state title trophy, again, (Reed fell to Gorman in the 2011 state title game, 72-28). He gave that response as he prepared to hop on a bus for eight hours back to a frigid Reno.

He had every reason to be angry and say something he may later regret. But in typical Howren fashion, he chose the classy route. That is what he has turned the Reed program into – one with class, and pride.

“At the end of the day they are high schoolers just as we are. But yeah it kind of sucks knowing they have the opportunity for so much more than we do with the money and stuff,” Reed senior QB Chris Denn said. “But it’s just another high school team and you have to play your heart out.”

Bishop Gorman coach Tony Sanchez is tired of the claims as well.

“I have nothing to say to those people,” Sanchez said. “We are going to keep showing up and working. At the end of the day all we can control is ourselves.”

While the Reed football program has embraced Bishop Gorman playing for state titles. It’s time for the rest of the state too as well.

People too often get stuck on the fact Bishop Gorman is a private school. The fact a school requires tuition, does not guarantee success. The coaching staff must still develop the talent and create effective schemes for Friday nights – or Saturday afternoons at Sam Boyd Stadium.

More familiar to Reed, Reno's Bishop Manogue is also a private school and is successful in its own rights in certain athletic programs. But it is not the power Bishop Gorman has become.

The Gaels are for real and Nevada needs to embrace it. The day will come however when a Nevada school beats them when it matters. Reed showed glimpses Saturday and maybe it will prove to be Howren’s Raiders who knock Gorman from its throne.

Until that day however, they aren’t going anywhere.

Nathan Shoup is a sports reporter for the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at nshoup@dailysparkstribune.com
Comments
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AggiePride
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December 09, 2013
I sincerely wish that Bishop Gorman would have the class to step aside like Findlay Prep and only play a national schedule. As Nevadans, we would cheer them on wholeheartedly but I cannot stand by and watch them win year after year with recruitment. I happen to know for a fact, from the mouths of former BG players, that they do recruit and pay for their tuition via booster money. These former players that I know happen to all play different sports (i.e. baseball, football, basketball) and each one was highly recruited for their individual sport. NONE of these boys' parents could afford BG and NONE of these same parents were working 2-3 jobs to afford BG. Yes the boys qualified for financial assistance but that does not make up for the difference needed to attend BG.

If all the schools were on the same "playing field" so to speak, and yet they were still winning year after year, then we'd have nothing to talk about BUT when I've heard these boys talk about what BG did to get them over there, then it's certainly not fair, ethical or legal.

I sent my kids to private school through middle school and chose to send them to Arbor View as that school has a solid education, sports, teachers, administration, etc. I/we are huge followers of all sports and are so proud of the Aggie athletes. Their football program has turned around so much over these last few years and we would love to see them play for a State Title but that will never happen as long as BG is recruiting players that should or could play for us. BG recruits others from around the city and country. Kudos really goes to schools like Palo, Liberty, Arbor View, Green Valley, etc. that have solid football programs with the kids in their district.

Congratulations BG but really, set yourselves aside already. Can you blame any of these athletes for wanting to attend BG? All of the former players I'm speaking about went to easily recognizable schools afterwards and/or pro. Of course none of them will come forward to say on record they were recruited. Who would???
Nevada Family Man
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December 08, 2013
The issue is not that what Gorman (or Manogue, for that matter) does is wrong. It's that it's different. And it's not about the money. The issue in my view is that private schools can recruit/attract, any athlete/student they want. And any athlete/student with the funds can choose to attend Gorman. No public school in Nevada has that option. You go to the public high school you are zoned for, unless you're somehow eligible for a variance. If Shabazz Muhammed had wanted to attend McQueen, that would not have been allowed without a variance, which under the rules for public schools, would not be allowed. Yep, under the current NIAA rules, Gorman are the state champions. No disrespect intended, but I just don't see how anyone - especially the fine Gorman folks - can view it as anything more than a hollow victory. Unless and until the playing field is equal - public and private schools operate under ALL the same rules - the state athletic championships are a sham.
Timski
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December 08, 2013
100% correct. I'm sure a North All-Star team would compete just fine against the Gorman All-Stars of the South. Sad to see the NIAA fold so quickly on this issue. Money talks.
Gorman Homer
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December 08, 2013
I understand the path of your argument, but with your logic Bishop Manogue should be playing in the Finals every year. The deference is that you have a public school system that is attractive to your parents and students. The south is not that lucky. We have pockets of pride in the Vegas Valley and those schools have a good program or two. If the school district down here was better, Gorman would not be so attractive.
Bygtime
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December 09, 2013
I agree to a point family man. The exception is that So. Nevada has open enrollment. Palo Verde is the only real loser because their usually overcrowded and can't take an student/athlete who chooses them. Hunky Cooper's Canyon Springs program will continue to get better because of coaching. Others will as well. In my humble opinion though, private schools don't have to fight the eligibility battles for their athletes that publics do.
Timski
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December 09, 2013
Homer, if the Fertitta family decided to give Manogue millions of dollars to build a pro-like facility that would attract all the best athletes in the area, they would also be in the "Finals every year". The combination of money and recruiting/enticing athletes throughout greater Las Vegas makes Gorman's involvement a farce.
Nevada Family Man
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December 09, 2013
The vast majority of athletes in the North (and all students, for that matter) do NOT have the option to attend Manogue - their families can't afford the approx. $10k annual tuition. That's the reason Manogue isn't in the Finals every year. Even with open enrollment in the South, I don't understand why that isn't the case with Gorman. How it is that so many quality athletes can afford that tuition?
NVCondor
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December 08, 2013
The truth is that when Las Vegas' population exploded two decades ago, and Clark County School District scrambled to meet this demand by opening a new high school every year, not only did public schools suffer academically, but athletically as well. Coaching staffs seem to migrate from one school to the next leaving most football programs languishing in mediocrity. This left a lot of athletes looking for a stable program.

Bishop Gorman is only filling the void left by this situation. And by doing so, they have a large metropolitan pool to draw from.

Frankly, if you had a child, who was a promising athlete, where would you want them to attend?

If Reed High School, McQueen, et al didn't have outstanding coaches and Athletic programs as well as solid academics, the same situation would arise with Bishop Manogue in Reno.

Gorman Homer
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December 08, 2013
I am going to post this link on the Las Vegas Sun comment board for all to read (no pun intended).

Get ready for the Hate Storm.
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