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NIAA committees to explore plan for realignment

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association still could have a different look in 2010-11.
Just what that look will be remains anyone’s guess.
At its Wednesday meeting at Del Sol High School, the NIAA’s Board of Control approved having realignment committees meet this fall in the hopes of forming a plan to reclassify the state’s 106 schools in a cost-cutting measure.
“It’s still our plan for 2010-2011,” NIAA executive director Eddie Bonine said.
The NIAA has set up two committees, one from the south and one from the north, and plans at least three meetings to discuss possible alignments with the hope that the board would vote on a plan at its March meeting.
“We have to try to look at something that would be long term but would solve a short-term problem,” Bonine said.
The association faces two major hurdles for the coming years: a shrinking state budget that trickles down to schools and scheduling problems for rural schools.
If the NIAA doesn’t do something to combat those problems, the future of athletics in Nevada might not be good.
“There’s no superintendent in Nevada that wants to cut programs for kids,” said board member Antoinette Cavanaugh, the superintendent of schools in Elko County. “We don’t want to have to get to the drawing board where we have to cut programs.”
In the spring, the organization began to look at realigning the state’s current four-class system into three divisions to help solve those problems. The NIAA’s proposal was based on a combination of factors, including geography and competitive balance.
But the initial realignment proposal from the NIAA stirred up plenty of controversy. Fourteen current southern Class 4A teams would have been moved to Division II and no longer would be in the top class under that proposal.
“It wasn’t necessarily popular. I understand that,” Bonine said.
It also wasn’t necessarily clear to many people who thought football would be included in the realignment.
Bonine reiterated Wednesday that any potential realignment would not involve football.
Parents and administrators from Basic, Chaparral and Del Sol — schools that were shifted to Division II in the NIAA’s initial realignment proposal — spoke out against moving their schools in other sports.
“It’s not the concept of realignment we have an issue with,” Del Sol principal Betsy Angelcor said. “It’s the process. We hope you can understand the perception that dropping down is there.”
But Virgin Valley principal David Wilson, whose school is a part of a three-member Class 3A, countered that argument.
“If you’re an athlete, you come out and you play,” Wilson said. “If you are an athlete, it does not matter what level you’re playing at, colleges will come out and recruit you and give you a scholarship.
“If you can build a strong athletic program, you will see higher morale at your school. Kids want to be a part of a successful program.”
The southern realignment committee will meet Oct. 21 at Legacy and would meet with the northern committee in the winter.

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