Winner Determined in Controversial Nevada Science Olympiad

By Hannah Rose Sacks — April 05, 2012 1 min read
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Last week I wrote about the controversy surrounding the winner of the Nevada Science Olympiad.

After the conclusion of the March 3 contest, Clark High School, in Las Vegas, was named the winner and invited to represent Nevada at the National Science Olympiad, which will be held next month in Orlando, Fla. A week or so after the conclusion of the contest, Centennial High School, the Las Vegas school that was named the runner up in the state competition, discovered a scoring error that, if corrected, would make it the Olympiad champion.

Since the discovery of the scoring error, both the Clark and Centennial teams have held tightly to claims of victory and therefore earned the right to compete at the national competition.

After Nevada State Olympiad Director Richard Vineyard’s request to send both teams as Nevada representatives to the National Science Olympiad was denied, the teams were unable to come to a resolution.

Now, the National Science Olympiad has finally made a ruling, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The final verdict acknowledges the Centennial team as the state champion, but states that Clark High School will represent Nevada at the national competition.

The verdict, while a split decision, was a complicated one to call.

Clark Coach James Miller asserted that the Centennial team did not correctly follow the rules in several events, saying Centennial’s scores in those events should have been discounted. Centennial’s score was discounted in one event.

Ultimately, the national body ruled that because the scoring error was not challenged until March 15, the results declaring Clark High School the winners were already final. Official National Science Olympiad rules state teams have 24 hours to dispute scores. A printer malfunction, however, delayed the scoring reports to teams by 10 days.

Centennial officials had initially threatened to bring legal action if the team was not allowed to compete at the national competition, but they have since decided not to pursue further action, Centennial Principal Trent Day told the Review-Journal.

“They still feel they are the Nevada state champions ... but have decided that the dispute has gone on long enough,” Day said.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.