The high school sports realignment debate is far from over. In fact, it may be just beginning.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s realignment committee voted last month on its recommendation to be sent to the Board of Control for a vote at its meeting beginning Wednesday at the Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno. But the NIAA’s agenda for the meeting includes an item for Clark County School District principals, unhappy with the committee’s recommendation, to give their own proposal.
Clark High School principal and Board president Jill Pendleton confirmed Monday the CCSD principals’ plan involves eliminating the newly proposed Class 5A. The principals voted unanimously, and a group of them are expected to attend Wednesday’s meeting to present their proposal in person. Despite a formal recommendation from the realignment committee, the Board is under no obligation to approve the committee’s proposal.
The plan formulated by the committee involved realigning the schools for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, with another realignment coming prior to the 2020-21 school year.
“(The principals) do believe that in the next realignment in two years, the 5A does make sense,” Pendleton said. “But a few things need to occur in order for it to make sense, which is why we felt the need to put the brakes on the idea for this realignment.”
The meeting is set to begin Wednesday and end Thursday, and a vote on realignment may not come until Thursday.
The committee based its recommendation off rubric points, a system which scored schools based on their teams’ postseason success. The issue is schools were aligned geographically, which led weaker schools to making the postseason over stronger ones based off where their school was located.
“The current rubric doesn’t really paint an accurate picture of competitive balance,” Pendleton said.
CCSD principals also want the classifications aligned on a sport-by-sport basis, and the committee’s proposal involves only aligning football separately from all other sports.
The disagreement stems from the creation of a new Class 5A, and how it would be implemented. Current 4A Reno-area schools voted 9-2 against joining the new Class 5A, leaving it as a Southern-only league.
This angered multiple people in the Southern part of the state, who feel it devalues the state championship. Bishop Gorman football coach Kenny Sanchez went so far as to call the Northern schools “cowards” and “soft.”
This also sparked the CCSD principals’ decision, and they feel that if the Northern schools can opt out of joining 5A, so too can Southern schools.
Pendleton is joined by Amy Wagner of Boulder City as principals on the Board of Control. Of the nine individuals on the Board, five are affiliated with CCSD.
The realignment committee had nine voting members, none of whom were CCSD principals. It was chaired by Pam Sloan, who is a Board member.
Multiple principals attended the realignment committee meetings to voice their displeasure. Among them was David Wilson of Eldorado, who said he did not like the process by which the committee came to a decision.
“At no time did the NIAA come to our … meetings to ask our opinions, what we want, our visual look at what our programs are, and what’s best for our kids,” he said last month. “Instead we come to meeting, we see things expanded, we see things change without any input at all from the people that are responsible for our schools and our communities, which are our high school principals.
“As a consensus, we are very uncomfortable with the recommendations that are being made.”
Realignment committee proposal
Northern league: Arbor View, Canyon Springs, Centennial, Faith Lutheran, Las Vegas, Legacy.
Southern league: Basic, Bishop Gorman, Coronado, Foothill, Green Valley, Liberty.
Northern league: Bonanza, Cimarron-Memorial, Desert Pines, Eldorado, Mojave, Palo Verde, Shadow Ridge.
Southern league: Chaparral, Clark, Durango, Sierra Vista, Silverado, Spring Valley, Valley.
Southern League: Boulder City, Cheyenne, Del Sol, Democracy Prep, Moapa Valley, Pahrump Valley, Rancho, Sunrise Mountain, Virgin Valley, Western.
Northern league: Arbor View, Centennial, Faith Lutheran, Las Vegas, Palo Verde, Rancho, Shadow Ridge.
Southern league: Basic, Bishop Gorman, Coronado, Desert Oasis, Foothill, Green Valley, Liberty, Silverado.
Northern league: Bonanza, Canyon Springs, Cheyenne, Cimarron-Memorial, Desert Pines, Eldorado, Legacy.
Southern league: Clark, Durango, Sierra Vista, Spring Valley, Tech, Valley.
Sunset League: Del Sol, Democracy Prep, Mojave, Pahrump Valley, Somerset-Losee, Western.
Sunrise League: Boulder City, Chaparral, Moapa Valley, Sky Pointe, SLAM Academy, Sunrise Mountain, Virgin Valley.