As many as four Clark County schools could be competing for state titles in a different division of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association next year.
The NIAA’s Board of Control approved moving up to four schools from Division I to Division I-A for the start of the 2014-15 school year based on their point totals in the Nevada Rubric.
Del Sol and Rancho from the Sunrise Region, and Desert Oasis, Spring Valley and Sierra Vista from the Sunset Region are the schools under consideration for movement, but a maximum of two schools per region will move.
Which schools, if any, will move will be determined at the end of the spring sports season.
“I’m excited for the student-athletes at our schools to be able to compete at appropriate levels,” said Chaparral principal Dave Wilson, the chair of the Southern Nevada Reclassification and Alignment Committee. “The Division I-A in all sports has been extremely competitive.”
When the NIAA realigned after the 2011-12 school year, several former Class 4A schools joined three Class 3A schools in Division I-A. It was the first time the NIAA based its classifications on anything other than enrollment.
At that time, the board approved realigning schools every two years based on a formula that assigned points based on a school’s finish in each sport.
Schools in Division I that finish a two-year cycle with fewer than 15 points were subject to move to Division I-A. Likewise, schools in Division I-A with an enrollment of 1,200 or more students that had 150 or more points would move to Division I.
Through five semesters of the cycle, Desert Oasis (11 points), Rancho (11), Spring Valley (nine), Sierra Vista (six) and Del Sol (zero) fall below the 15-point bar.
Rancho is expected to climb above it this spring, while the three Sunset schools all could move above the total with a deep playoff run by one or more of their teams. Del Sol has had trouble competing at the Division I level.
Meanwhile, only Faith Lutheran and Boulder City have surpassed 150 points in Division I-A, and both schools have enrollments that allow them to remain in Division I-A.
“We’re moving forward with this, and it’s working,” said NIAA executive director Eddie Bonine. “We’ll continue to review it, but it’s been very positive. It’s a matter of changing some attitudes and how we’ve looked at things.”
There are 24 Southern Nevada schools in Division and 13 in Division I-A, including Tech, which does not compete in football.
Moving some to Division I schools to I-A could allow each of the two current Division I-A leagues to divide into two, potentially creating a larger region playoff field and more postseason opportunities.
It also would likely shrink the current six-team Division I leagues to five teams.
“There are some things we still need to work on,” Wilson said. “There are some concerns still from individual sport programs at schools, and we need to look at point thresholds.
“Overall, it’s been very positive.”
Also on Monday, Rancho threw the NIAA a bit of a curveball, asking the board to allow its football team to compete as an independent next season.
The Rams hope to compete against Division I-A schools in football.
“In the last three years, Rancho has scored 82 points and our opponents have scored 1,004,” said Rancho assistant principal Michael Kennedy. “We have had 43 main injuries, 27 of which are concussions.”
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 387-5230.