Nevada prep association adopts final four format |

Nevada prep association adopts final four format

the Associated Press

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association has adopted a “Final Four” format for its state championships.

Beginning in 2003-2004, all team championships will be determined in a four-team format, ending the eight-team state tournament on the 4A level. The NIAA board approved the four-team format at its meeting this past week in Las Vegas.

In addition, the NIAA board decided to keep the current four-class alignment for the next four-year cycle. The next alignment period will begin in 2004-2005. The NIAA had considered adopting a three-class format for all sports, with the exception of football.

All state championships sites will be rotated between Northern and Southern Nevada. The state basketball tournament, though, will stay in Reno in 2004.

That means next year, two Northern 4A and two Southern 4A teams will compete in the state tournament. The format figures to continue Southern Nevada’s dominance in the state boys basketball tournament.

Due to finances, the NIAA had been considering just one state championship game in which one team from the North and one club from the South played for the title. This figured to be the best chance for a Northern 4A team to win the state crown.

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But many Southern coaches didn’t like the idea of one winner-take-all-game against the North, so the four-team format was adopted. The last Northern large school in Nevada to win a state title was Carson in 1975.

When state 4A tournaments are held in Southern Nevada, three Southern schools and one Northern team will compete in the event.

In 4A cross country and golf, the top two teams and the top five individuals from non-qualifying teams from the Northern, Sunset and Sunrise Divisions will advance to the state championships. Currently, the top three teams from each region goes to state.

In 4A swimming, track and wrestling, the top three individuals from the North and the top five individuals from the South will go to the state championships. Currently, the top five from the North, Sunset and Sunrise regions go to state.

In class 3A, when the state tournament is held in the North, three Northern teams and one Southern school will compete. When the tournament is held in the South, the top two Northern schools and the top two Southern teams will go to state.

The following sites have been approved for state championships in all classes for 2003-2004:

Cross Country — Northern Nevada; football — Northern Nevada; girls golf — Southern Nevada; boys soccer — Northern Nevada; tennis — Southern Nevada; girls volleyball — Southern Nevada.

Wrestling — Northern Nevada; baseball — Southern Nevada; softball — Northern Nevada; swimming — Southern Nevada; track –ENorthern Nevada.

In addition, the NIAA Board decided not to sanction cheerleading as a sport due to finances. There had been an effort to make cheerleading an NIAA sport.

The board did adopt recommended guidelines for spirit squads and a sanctioning procedure for all spirit competitions.

All Nevada spirit squads will abide by National Federation Interscholastic Spirit Association rules. Each school district shall also establish eligibility requirements for spirit squads.

“Although spirit is not considered a sanctioned sport by the NIAA, the association is concerned about the safety and consistency of this activity,” the board said in a statement. “It is for this reason we are recommending that schools follow Recommended Guidelines for Spirit Squads as provided in the 2003-2004 reference manual. To assure that all events follow the rules established by NFHS, we are also requiring that all events that involve Nevada schools must be sanctioned by the NIAA.”

The new guidelines include season limitations, participation limitations and competition regulations.

The NIAA is also still searching for sponsors, including a title sponsor. The NIAA will lose U.S. Bank as its title sponsor after this school year.