NIAA realignment tabled in favor of stopgap move

After six months of discussions and proposals, it turns out the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association likely won’t realign — yet.

A Southern Nevada realignment committee unanimously voted Monday to recommend the current four-class alignment remain through the 2011-12 school year and that three Class 3A schools be incorporated into the current Northeast League for scheduling purposes.

The committee met at Legacy High School and viewed proposals from the NIAA, the Clark County School District and a handful of schools.

In the end, the committee opted to solve the scheduling problem the 3A schools face while also buying time before making any major changes to the four-class system.

“I’m OK with it. We need more time,” NIAA executive director Eddie Bonine said. “This group came together, they did their homework and at this point we helped three Clark County School District schools in the outlying areas with costs of travel.”

In May, Bonine distributed a proposal to realign the state’s schools from four classes to three to cut costs and help with scheduling and competitive balance.

“This buys us another year and a half to go through the process and consider all of the options,” added Bonine, who will present the committee’s recommendation to the NIAA’s board of control in December. The board could make it official by March.

When Faith Lutheran moved into Class 4A this season, it left only Boulder City, Moapa Valley and Virgin Valley in the Class 3A Southern League.

“It’s hard for us to find games,” Virgin Valley principal David Wilson said. “We’re looking for stability of schedule.”

The three 3A schools have had to venture to California, Arizona and Utah to find opponents. Because the CCSD won’t allow schools to take its buses out of state, those 3A schools have had to charter buses — often at more than $3,000 per trip — to travel to some games.

The committee’s recommendation should eliminate the need for schools to play out-of-state opponents.

“We can be very competitive with all those (Northeast League) schools,” Wilson said. “We’re not going to win every game. We’re going to provide them with high-quality competition and provide our programs with high-quality competition.”

It’s unclear how the teams will be incorporated into the schedule, but they’ll break into their current classification for postseason play. How they’ll be seeded for postseason is also to be determined.

“It’s a best-case scenario for now,” Canyon Springs principal Milana Winter said. “It hits the priorities we talked about today.”

Bonine said he will work with the CCSD to create a schedule that would allow the three 3A schools to play the same teams.

He added that the 1A and 2A classes were working on a similar solution to cut down on travel.

“The next two years, how our teams fare against current 4As and how the 3As do will give us a good indication of where we go next,” Chaparral principal Kevin McPartlin said.

That process should continue this fall.

“This fixed our immediate problem, but we have to look at a long-term fix and something that will work statewide,” CCSD executive athletic director Ray Mathis said. “I didn’t think this was the venue to do that.”

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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