Starting next school year, there will be more teams in the big schools state tournament, and a lot more schools in the region tournaments.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s realignment committee voted Wednesday at Chaparral High School to expand the Class 4A state tournament to six teams for all nonfootball bracketed team sports, with four teams from the South and two from the North. The committee also voted to expand the region tournaments of those sports to include every team, up from eight in each region.
All recommendations will be sent to the NIAA Board of Control for a vote at its meeting beginning April 23 in Las Vegas.
“It’s always bothered me, the disproportionality in state tournaments,” said Spring Valley principal Tam Larnerd, who proposed the plan. “When two-thirds of the schools and the students are down here, it just makes sense for it to be set up the way I proposed.”
For nonfootball Class 4A, there are 28 Las Vegas Valley teams and 11 Reno-area teams.
Because the regions are now aligned on a North-South orientation, the committee voted to rename the Sunset Region and Sunrise Region as the Mountain Region and Desert Region.
The two semifinalists from each region would qualify for state. The Desert and Mountain Region champions would play in what is being called a Clark County title game to determine who would receive a bye at state. The Northern Region champion would receive the other bye.
“I thought having a Clark County championship makes so much more sense for kids to have a Southern Nevada champion,” Larnerd said. “Hopefully it’s another banner we can hang in the Spring Valley gym.”
Under the old format, the North and South alternated hosting the tournament, with two North and two South teams on years the North hosted, and three South teams on years the South hosted. When the South hosted, the Sunrise and Sunset runner-up would compete in a play-in game to determine the final state tournament participant.
The host sites still will alternate under the current proposal.
“It’s a shame when you’re competing at a very high level and you get excluded because of some arbitrary every-other-year-rule,” Larnerd said.
For region tournaments, each 4A team in nonfootball will qualify. Coaches from individual sports will vote on whether to align their regular season by leagues or by region.
The 4A football tournament will remain the same, with four teams from each league making up the region tournaments. State also will remain the same, with one region receiving an auto-bid to the state title game on a rotating basis. In 2018, the Desert Region will receive the auto-bid, with the Mountain Region champ playing the Northern Region champ in a state semifinal.
Silverado principal Jaime Ditto is a new member of the committee. She said it was good to have a principal included so the issue from December does not arise again, when principals felt out of the loop and went to the board with their own proposal.
“It solves the problem of the 11th hour at the 11th day conversation,” Ditto said.