Committee recommends formula for NIAA realignment

The landscape of high school sports in Nevada could change drastically in the next 18 months.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s southern realignment committee unanimously agreed Thursday to recommend a rubric that would be used to realign schools for the 2012-2013 school year.
The next step is for the NIAA’s Board of Control to hear the recommendation in April and probably vote on whether to approve it in October.
Before the board votes, though, school principals, school boards and superintendents will be asked for their feedback.
The driving forces behind the realignment are competitive balance within leagues, saving money on transportation and easing scheduling concerns for some schools, especially those in the current Class 3A, who often have to leave the state to find enough nonleague games to fill a schedule.
Schools are currently classified based solely on enrollment figures.
“This gives kids a chance to participate and to be competitive,” said Clark County School District associate superintendent Andre Denson, who served as committee chair. “Once students start to feel like they can compete and win, students want to participate more. It has a great possibility to make schools more competitive in more programs.”
The rubric is based on a school’s performances in all sports during a two-year period. For the first classification process, the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years will be used.
Schools earn points for their football, girls volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball teams finishing in the top four of their league and additional points based on postseason performance. Schools also earn points for teams finishing first or second in the region and state in most other sports.
The top 12 schools in each region with the most points would be in one classification with two divisions of six teams in each of two regions.
The remaining schools would join Pahrump Valley, Faith Lutheran and the current three Class 3A schools — Boulder City, Moapa Valley and Virgin Valley — in a 13-team classification that would be broken into two leagues.
“We’re really happy with the process, the rubric,” said NIAA executive director Eddie Bonine. “I honestly believe the rubric will be around for a while. Teams will be more competitive, kids will want to come out and play. They can compete with someone on their own competition level.”

It’s likely that the classifications would play for separate state titles, but a full postseason proposal is still in the works.

Because the winter and spring sports seasons from this school year will help determine the final totals in the rubric, it’s not possible to know where every school will fall in the new alignment.
“This is all about the kids,” said Denson. “This isn’t about egos. This is about making sure students have a chance to participate.”