NIAA committee adds 5A class, plans revised football alignment

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s realignment committee approved a proposal on Wednesday that would add a 5A classification for the state’s high school sports.

The committee also voted to align football separately from other sports. All of the realignment committee’s recommendations will go before the board of control at the next meeting, March 29 and 30 in Reno, and would take effect for the 2018-2019 school year.

Southern Nevada schools with enrollment of 1,301 and above would be in Class 4A and 5A under the new plan. The schools would be aligned based on rubric points compiled over six seasons. Schools would continue to receive points for their performances, from one point for placing fourth in a league to 40 points for earning a state championship. The schools with the greatest number of rubric points would be placed in Class 5A, although the number of schools in each class has yet to be determined.

Northern Nevada’s current 4A Region would vote on whether to play at the 5A or 4A level. That means either the 5A or 4A would be entirely made up of Southern Nevada schools.

The committee said it would try to keep the number of teams in each region as equal as is possible. That was a bone of contention in the past when there were only nine Northern Nevada schools in Class 3A but 16 in the South. Currently there are 12 Southern Nevada Class 3A schools and nine in Northern Nevada.

The realignment committee also voted to align Class 3A, 4A and 5A football teams separately from other sports. The classifications would be based on the same criteria, but it would mean the 5A football schools wouldn’t necessarily be in 5A for other sports.

“Football tends to be 90 percent of the discussion, partly because it’s a numbers game but also because the nature of the sport where it’s a collision sport, safety tends to rise to the surface over and over and over again,” NIAA executive director Bart Thompson said. “Most of the discussion that we have surrounding which league a particular school will go into surrounds the sport of football.”

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at or 702-380-4587. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.