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NIAA grants Rancho independent status in football

Rancho’s football team hasn’t had many things go its way in the past two seasons.

But the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association granted the Rams some relief this week.

The NIAA board of control voted to allow Rancho to be an independent in football for the next two seasons. That will allow the Rams to avoid the Division I powers that have pummeled them the last two seasons.

Opponents have outscored Rancho 1,004-82 in the last two seasons. Rancho hasn’t scored more than 15 points in a game since 2011, and the Rams gave up 70 or more points four times last fall.

The move also addresses safety concerns.

Rancho assistant principal Michael Kennedy told the board in March that Rancho had 43 main injuries in the last three years, including 27 concussions.

While Rancho’s request to be independent in football was approved, Hug High in Reno was denied independent status in girls volleyball and girls soccer.

RUBRIC UPDATE — The board also voted on rubric thresholds for the next realignment cycle.

Division I-A schools scoring more than 150 points for the next cycle could move to Division I. Division I schools scoring less than 30 points will move to Division I-A.

The board also voted to keep protections in place for Boulder City, Virgin Valley, Moapa Valley and Faith Lutheran, meaning those schools will not have to move to Division I even if they exceed the 150 points.

The board also voted not to double football points for the upcoming realignment cycle, instead treating it the same as the other Tier I sports: girls volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball.

COMPRESSED SCHEDULE — Spring sports teams may play games a little more frequently next spring. The board granted a one-year exception to the master calendar, shortening the spring season by a week so that state tournaments won’t fall on Memorial Day weekend.

NIAA assistant director Donnie Nelson said some teams ran into trouble finding lodging for state tournaments this spring because of the holiday, and that costs of the lodging were extremely high.

The board was concerned that things would be worse next spring when the majority of the tournaments will be in the Las Vegas area.

LEAGUE NEWS — White Pine was placed in the Division III Southern League for all sports except for soccer, effective immediately.

The board also approved two-year independent status for Coral Academy in Henderson.

The Somerset Academy Charter School, which had full-membership status approved in March, will instead play as an independent rather than joining the Division IV Southern League.

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