NIAA approves 2016-17 realignment in South; football start dates changed |

NIAA approves 2016-17 realignment in South; football start dates changed

Steve Puterski

Once again, realignment is coming — but only in Southern Nevada.

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s Board of Control voted last week to accept the NIAA Realignment Committee’s proposal, according to Assistant Director Jay Beesemyer.

He said the vote mostly focused on Div. I-A, specifically the number of schools in the southern region, but that the changes will not go into effect until the 2016-17 school year. As for Northern Div. I-A, no changes were made to schools moving up or down.

“Now everybody will come back, the schools on the bubble, to appeal to go up or down,” Beesemyer said. “Realignment is usually very contentious and that may still happen. It was mainly a I-A issue in the south. The northern teams didn’t want a whole bunch of teams in the south. They thought it was a bit unfair.”

As a result of the vote, the board capped the number of schools in Southern I-A at 16, although Beesemyer said he expects several schools to appeal the decision at the NIAA’s meeting in September. For example, The Meadows (Las Vegas) was moved up to Div. I-A due to the private school multiplier, which automatically doubles a private school’s enrollment and put them above the Div. III threshold.

But Beesemyer said The Meadows is a Div. III school and would likely be approved to move back to its longtime home.

Regardless of The Meadows, Southern I-A will still use the rubric to determine classification. The rubric is a formula that complies a school’s performance in 22 sports and uses a point total to determine if the school will transition.

Although no official ruling has been made to which schools are moving, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas) will return to Div. I-A since the Crusaders have already eclipsed the 149-point mark.

Faith Lutheran currently has 204 points, won six state titles this past year and has 16 state championships in three years in Div. I-A.

The Review-Journal also reported current Div. I Las Vegas schools Eldorado and Durango may be possible replacements for Faith Lutheran.

In the north, Beesemyer said there are rumblings of Reno schools Wooster and Hug seeking membership in Northern I-A, which would require all sports at those schools to move down. However, no official requests have been made by either school. Wooster, though, currently competes in the I-A in football only.

“The committee did a good job,” Beesemyer added. “All the groundwork had been laid.”

In addition to realignment, the NIAA will also revert back to the Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A designations in the 2016-17 year.

In other NIAA news

The NIAA also approved at its Board of Control meeting a change in start dates for football.

Teams are allowed to begin practice three days earlier than last year beginning Aug. 5. Players must go through a four-day heat acclimatization period, which ends Aug. 8.

After those four days, a three-day non-contact period runs from Aug. 10-12. Nevada high school sports are not allowed to practice on Sunday.

Full-contact practices, meanwhile, commence Aug. 13 and the first scrimmage can be either on Aug. 21 or 22.

The Board granted permission for schools in the Northern Nevada Football Coaches Association (Division I Northern Region, only) to schedule 180 minutes total per week (90 minutes full contact and 90 minutes “thump”) within two days per week of contact practice time limits.

A discussion item regarding a mercy rule in soccer was heard by the board.

Beesemyer said he is against the proposal and coaches must figure out a way to not run up the score. Admittedly, he said teams do crack the 10-0 and sometimes it’s to get a player a record.

In addition, Beesemyer said he is not in favor of terminating games.

The proposal may be on the agenda for the September meeting for additional discussion or possible action.

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