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NIAA approves contract for new chief

Contractual obligations in his home state will prevent Bart Thompson from fully taking over as the executive director of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association until June 15.

Were it completely up to Thompson, he’d already be settling into his new office in Reno.

Thompson, who was selected to lead the NIAA by its Board of Control in March, had his contract finalized during the board’s meeting Wednesday at Sam’s Town. Thompson was given a three-year contract worth $130,000 per year. He also will receive a stipend of $10,000 per year for vehicle usage.

“I’m thrilled. I’m excited to get started,” Thompson said. “I wish I could get started tomorrow. I want to get in the saddle and be able to ride.”

Thompson, an assistant executive director for the Utah High School Athletic Association, replaces Eddie Bonine, who left the NIAA to head the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

In his final year, Bonine made just more than $150,000 plus a $10,000 car allowance and an $1,800 longevity stipend.

Thompson spent much of Wednesday’s meeting absorbing the conversation of the board as he quickly gets up to speed.

Among his first priorities as executive director is reviewing the association’s budget.

“We really need to take a look at the budget,” Thompson said. “There are some struggles. I’m not sure the association isn’t being run extremely efficiently. I’m not sure there’s anything significant we can cut, unless we really go drastic. My goal over my tenure here is that when I leave this place, there is a surplus, a reserve fund that the association can fall back on.”

Thompson also hopes to foster better communication between Southern Nevada schools and Northern Nevada schools.

“I want to bring people together … North, South, public, private, large school, small school,” Thompson said. “They need to come together, and they need to understand what is on the other side of the table because in a lot of cases, they don’t. We have to get people to communicate and understand where we want to be and how do we get there.”

■ QUEST ACADEMY — Quest Academy’s request for reinstatement of its full membership to the NIAA was tabled by the board.

Quest began the 2014-15 school year as a full member of the Division IV Southern League, but concerns from other member schools regarding missed games and the eligibility of the Knights’ athletes led the NIAA to suspend Quest’s full membership in January and make the school ineligible for postseason play.

Quest accepted associate membership status in January, allowing its basketball and track teams still to compete, but not for league, region or state titles.

School superintendent Deb Roberson asked the board for full membership and placement in the Division III Southern League next year.

“We’re doing well with our finances, and we have a plan to implement a sound sports program,” Roberson said.

The board will revisit the issue in its June meeting. In the interim, Quest, which expects to field an 11-man football team in the fall, will be an associate member.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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