Status quo is the way to go, for now.
The NIAA Board of Control held the first half of its quarterly meeting on Wednesday at the Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno with numerous items on the agenda for possible action.
Among the discussion topics, two were particularly intriguing. However, neither received a motion so the topics were tabled.
Both topics were soccer specific. The first would have created a performance-based alignment for the DI North and DI-A North (which will once again be called the 4A North and 3A North starting next fall), and the second would have established a state-wide outside-the-box mercy rule.
For a year now, the NIAA has discussed the idea of adopting a European/Premier League model for determining school’s alignment in soccer.
The proposed system, which could have been approved on Wednesday and put into action next fall, would’ve forced the top two teams in the DI-A North to move up to the DI North and bottom two teams in the DI North to drop to the DI-A North.
If it would have been approved, the Sparks boys, which won the DI-A North regular season title last fall, would have moved up to DI along with Elko. Reno and Bishop Manogue would have dropped down.
On the girls side, Hug and North Valleys would have moved down while Truckee and South Tahoe would have moved up.
The biggest reason the motion wasn’t even brought to a vote was because at the last meeting, it was decided the DIII soccer would no longer exist and a handful of those teams will relocate to the DI-A North.
So it is now up to the DI-A North, or to-be 3A North, to determine how it will proceed. Ideas are being discussed of splitting the league into two different leagues, the Sierra League (west) and the Humbolt League (east), or of creating a performance-based alignment within the DI-A North.
A better idea of the DI-A North’s soccer future will come to light at the next Board of Control meeting in April.
“We’ll just have to wait to see how it plays out,” NIAA Assistant Director Donnie Nelson said.
The other big ticket discussion topic considered a unique mercy rule, but like the performance-based alignment, it wasn’t brought to a vote.
Nelson, who presented the potential rule, recommended the board not take action due the influx of negative feedback from various schools around the state.
Because soccer already has a running clock, the rule suggested that when a team gets a substantial lead, it must start playing with less players.
If the lead got to seven goals, the winning team would play with 10 (one less than the regular 11). If the gap got to eight, the winning team would play with nine. If it got to nine, the winning squad with play with eight. And the game would be terminated if the difference ever got to 10 goals.
A survey of NIAA member schools actually showed that 38 schools were in favor of the change compared to just 14 that were against it but Nelson said another format is being explored due to the strong negative feedback from those opposed.
“Coaches need to police themselves and use strategies that allow players to improve yet not score more goals once the game has gotten to a certain point,” one school administrator wrote. “Do not change the game because coaches refuse to respect the game.”
Another administrator claimed the mercy rule was “not realistic.”
Said Nelson: “We’re still a ways away.”