NIAA, MaxPreps deal stalls over rights
July 5, 2013
Streamlined access to scores and updated standings throughout Nevada was denied at the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association's Board of Control meeting in June in Las Vegas.
The NIAA was propositioned by MaxPreps.com to become an official sponsor and would be used to keep official standings for Nevada prep sports. The site, already used by dozens of NIAA member schools in the north and south, is updated by coaches and/or assistant coaches who report scores and statistics after each contest.
Donnie Nelson, NIAA assistant director, said the final decision will come during the board's next meeting Sept. 30 through Oct. 1 in Reno.
Another sponsor, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, expressed concerns over the deal between the NIAA and MaxPreps. The newspaper operates Nevada Preps, a website dedicated to southern Nevada high school sports.
"It bought our office staff some time and trying to evaluate the MaxPreps partnership and how it will affect our relationship with the Las Vegas Review-Journal," he added.
Greg Koenig of Fallon and Region II board of control member, said the vote was based on state allegiances. In addition, he said the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is an NIAA sponsor, was not pleased with the proposed deal.
"If we took on MaxPreps they would even drop the $25,000," he said of the RJ's annual contribution. "MaxPreps doesn't have interest in just doing the north. The north uses them anyways. Why would they pay sponsorship money for something they already have."
In a previous interview, Nelson said the deal would also include a stipulation that every coach of every program with access to MaxPreps (some sports are not covered by MaxPreps) must update their results or face a postseason ban.
Nevada Preps, according to Nelson, keeps the official standings for the south, while the north does not have official standings, which makes tracking records a challenge. A major issue for the NIAA has been the lack of reporting by coaches either to media outlets or on MaxPreps to allow for transparent record keeping.
Representing the RJ were editor Mike Hengel and Nevada Preps editor Bartt Davis, while MaxPreps founder Andy Beal championed his company's cause.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the RJ donates $25,000 per year to the NIAA and its current contract runs through Aug. 31. Tuesday was the deadline for the RJ to decide to renew its contract with the NIAA. Koenig said he did not know if the RJ renewed its contract.
The deal with MaxPreps, meanwhile, is reportedly worth $15,000 per year for a three-year agreement.
"It was a totally north-south vote," he said. "The north voted for MaxPreps and the south voted to keep the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which only does the south." Davis, though, told the board he worried the deal would affect the newspaper's relationship with the coaches and receiving game information before established daily deadlines.
Nevada Preps, though, does more than keep standings and statistics. The site's sole focus is on southern Nevada prep sports and covers all sports plus updates recruiting information on Las Vegas athletes.
The issue with MaxPreps, though, is coaches can update stats and standings at a later date, which would diminish the RJ's attempts to report scores, according to Davis.
"Mr. (Eddie) Bonine's (NIAA director) stance was MaxPreps would only enhance the Review-Journal's coverage," Nelson said. "We have Nevada Preps, but it covers southern Nevada only, so there is a big hole."
Hengel discussed the RJ's interest in developing addition technology and applications or platforms so Nevada Preps could serve Northern Nevada.
Nelson said the Board of Control gave the RJ one month to determine if the newspaper could create an avenue to record northern standings.
"That's why the board kind of put it on hold," he said. "We gave them a month to let us now if they have the technology to do that, and if so, how can you implement that in Northern Nevada."
Another issue for Koenig, though, was the RJ's decreased donations. Six years ago, the RJ donated $75,000 annually. Five years ago, the newspaper created Nevada Preps with the NIAA's approval and donated $75,000.
About two years ago, the donation dropped by $50,000 and now, according to Koenig, the value of the standings has changed.
"The thing that is kind of irritating is six years ago they were a $75,000 sponsor and we let them take on Nevada Preps … so at the time there was no value in adding that to them. Yet, now, they say that's the only way we'll sponsor you. There wasn't value (in the past), and now if we took it away there's value."
In other NIAA news —
All-star games was also a focal point of the meeting and the 2013 Nevada State Legislature session.
The legislature passed SB125, which allows for all-star games to be conducted during the school year. Two of the state's primary all-star contests — the Sertoma Classic and the West Charleston Lions Club — revolve around football.
Koenig said the legislature forced their hand, but proponents of the bill said it will allow football players one more opportunity to shine before prep players can sign the National Letter's of Intent.
Currently, the all-star games are held in the summer, and now the new law will allow the games to be held shortly after each sport's season.
The games, according to the new law, must obey regulations set forth by the NIAA.
The board also tabled a regulation that requires swimmers to compete in at least 50 percent of regular season meets to qualify for the postseason.