Plenty known, but much to be decided at NIAA realignment meeting

Updated December 6, 2017 - 6:18 pm

A fifth classification for high school sports in Nevada is coming, and the parameters of what it might look like will become clearer Thursday.

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s realignment committee will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday at Chaparral High School in order to prepare a formal recommendation to the NIAA Board of Control. That meeting, and any official action, is Jan. 17.

The meeting is open to the public, and there are two agenda items for public comment.

Here’s what we know:

• The new Class 5A will not include any current Class 4A Northern Region schools. The Northern Region schools voted 9-2 earlier this year to remain in 4A, with Reed and Bishop Manogue voting to go to 5A. No new action involving Northern teams is expected to be taken.

• The reclassification is based on rubric points, which measure schools based on postseason performance since the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

• Teams will be classified differently in football than other sports. There are football and non-football rubric points, so schools that have dominated in non-football sports but missed the football postseason – like Centennial and Coronado – likely will remain in 4A for football but move to 5A for everything else. The opposite is true, with Canyon Springs moving up in football but expected to remain in 4A for everything else.

• Four current Class 4A schools are protected, and not moving to 5A. Faith Lutheran, Clark, Sierra Vista and Spring Valley moved up from Division I-A (now 3A) during the last realignment cycle, and were deemed protected this time around.

• Imbalanced leagues are ensuring the best teams aren’t going to 5A. No one would argue 5-4 Shadow Ridge has been worse than 2-8 Eldorado in football over the last two years, but the Mustangs play in the Northwest League, and missed the playoffs the last two years, where the Sundevils reached the postseason in the much lighter Northeast League.

• It will only impact current 4A and 3A teams. It is not expected that any 2A or 1A teams will be realigned.

• No teams will be moving down a classification.

• The alignment will be in effect for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. Rubric points begin fresh this winter to be applied toward a realignment that would go into effect for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

What we don’t know:

• How many schools will be part of the new 5A. The realignment committee will construct its formal proposal Thursday for the NIAA Board of Control’s meeting in January. It is expected to be between 12 and 18.

• What the new 3A will look like. Teams will be moving up, and the NIAA hopes to have an equal representation in the North and South for 3A and 4A. Based on enrollment, Boulder City, Moapa Valley, Virgin Valley and Pahrump Valley will remain in 3A.

• Which class Faith Lutheran will play in. The Crusaders moved up from Division I-A during the last cycle and are protected, but have petitioned the NIAA to move to 5A anyway.

• Where Desert Pines lands. The two-time defending 3A state champion has by far the most football rubric points, and if 5A takes enough teams, the Jaguars may need to move up to ensure there are enough 4A teams. Mojave and Chaparral would be the next two, in that order, to move up to 4A in football, if necessary.

Contact Justin Emerson at or (702) 387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.