By Dave Maxwell
Beginning this fall, the Nevada Interscholastic Association (NIAA) has voted to not divide the larger members of the NIAA in Clark County into a new 5A classification.
Silverado principal Jaime Ditto had expressed concerns earlier by saying, “We unanimously believe, and there are 32 principals now that believe, there shouldn’t be a 5A right now, that we don’t have enough accurate data, that the system we have and the rubric that we have is flawed and broken.”
As reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, after listening to a presentation by a contingent of Clark County school district principals, the NIAA realignment committee, meeting in Reno, voted 7-2 to accept the proposal of the principals and not create a new 5A football league for 2018-2020. Only Clark County schools would have been affected.
It does, however, create four different 4A leagues in the South division, A, B, C, and D for all sports.
Left open though was the possibility of discussing the 5A issue again for the 2020-21 school year.
Regarding Class 2A and 1A, Assistant NIAA Director Donnie Nelson said no changes will be made in Class 2A other than adding Coral Academy of Reno to the North, while the South division will be able to add charter schools that later might qualify for 2A status.
Class 1A is again being divided into four regions, a Northern East and West as exists now, but creating again in the Southern region a Central league and South league for volleyball and basketball. The Central and South leagues existed before, but were combined into just one South league in 2008.
Nelson said changes for baseball and softball, if any, will be decided later.
Nelson said the reasons for going to the four 1A divisions was “because of travel and facilitating equal leagues. Also, the West was getting so big. Eleven schools there, only five in the East, and they weren’t getting playoff representation, plus anywhere between five and eight teams in the South.”
Playoff structures in Class 1A are not developed yet, as Nelson noted. “But it won’t always be Central versus South, as it was 10 years or so ago. It’s not really like it had been, a simple North and South region.”
He added, “What I can see happening, although I’m not sure it will, is that one year you could have the West play the East in a particular sport and the South play the Central. But the next year, you might have the West play the Central and the South play the East.”
Two additional changes for 2018-20 will move 1A schools Coleville, Smith Valley and Mineral County from the Northwest league to the South’s Central league.
For football in the North, the 1A West league will include Excel Christian, Pyramid Lake, Sierra Lutheran, Virginia City, and Whittell. The 1A east league will have Carlin, Eureka, Independence, McDermitt, Owyhee, and Wells. Jackpot does not play football, but does play basketball.