It's official, Nevada high school sports will realign.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Board of Control approved the proposal on Monday at its meeting in Las Vegas. The new system will begin in the fall for the 2012-13 school year.
However, the rubric is a two-year process, and schools can be relegated to Division I-A or move up to Division I.
In the north, not much changes except for Wooster moving up to the soon-to-be Division I (the current 4A) for football. The Colts have participated in the 3A, which will become Division I-A next year, as an independent the past two seasons.
The changes, though, drastically alter the landscape in Clark County where 10 schools will join Moapa Valley, Virgin Valley and Boulder City in Division I-A. The league will be split into two leagues - the Sunset and Sunrise. The Sunset will have six schools (Cheyenne, Clark, Faith Lutheran, Mojave, Pahrump Valley and Western) and the Sunrise will have seven (Boulder City, Chaparral, Desert Pines, Moapa Valley, SECTA, Sunrise Mountain and Virgin Valley).
"The whole realignment thing started on the heels of trying to help Clark County save financial dollars so they didn't have to send their three outlying schools (Boulder City, Moapa Valley and Virgin Valley) many miles to find nonleague games," said Donnie Nelson, assistant director of the NIAA. "It also helped foster a better competitive balance for the 4A schools that were struggling to make a playoff appearance."
Results of the realignment were based on a rubric created by the NIAA. The formula takes into account the number of wins during regular season play, postseason victories, regional and state championships. But for many of the southern schools, they have gone years without fielding competitive teams.
The competitive balance, Nelson said, drove the NIAA to introduce the new legislation. He said it took awhile for many of the schools, even those not affected, to come to grips with the proposal. Nelson said the success of Sparks several years ago - coupled with Fallon's run to four state titles in the spring - helped change perspective.
Another positive for the NIAA, he added, was the reduced travel expenses for the current Southern 3A schools, the addition of more league games and a new mix of teams in the postseason.
"I think it created a new and unique dynamic in the existing 3A," Nelson said. "There's a new band of excitement in terms of teams getting the opportunity to be more competitive in more sports across the board."
Yet another slight alignment change is possible in the Northern 3A. In various sports such as volleyball, basketball and baseball, a "pod" system is used. The league is divided between three pods - or leagues - consisting of 2A and 3A schools.
Nelson said there has been discussions in the previous months of the possibility of the 3A eliminating its ties with the 2A schools to foster a more competitive league. However, the league's athletic directors have yet to vote on the matter.
"The pod system has not been approved for continuation into next year," Nelson said. "That's still to be worked out between the 2A and 3A north."
ANIAA proposal to alter the playoffs is expected to be voted on at the board's December meeting.
As a result of the realignment, girls and boys tennis and swimming will now have their own postseason. Fallon, for example, competes in the 4A for tennis and swimming and participates in the 4A postseason. Starting next year, all schools designated Division I-A, at least in the north, will play a Division I regular season schedule, but break off into a Division I-A postseason.
Other aspects of the proposal include various bye weeks for schools in the first rounds of numerous sports, such as baseball, softball and basketball. In boys and girls soccer, only three teams from the Sierra and Humboldt leagues would qualify for the postseason instead of the current four.
In football, two options exist. First, the top six teams in the north would qualify and three teams from the Sunrise and Sunset leagues. The top two schools in the north and the No. 1 seeds in the Sunrise and Sunset would each earn a bye.
The second is eight teams from the North qualify and four from each of the leagues in the south. However, no bye weeks would be instituted.
In other NIAA news: The NIAA Board of Control has approved a running clock for leads of more than 40 points in the second half of basketball games. The rule will be in effect for this season. The clock will only be stopped for timeouts, technical fouls and injuries.
Leagues/Regions approved for 2012-13
High Desert League
Hug, McQueen, North Valleys, Reed, Reno and Spanish Springs
Bishop Manogue, Carson, Damonte Ranch, Douglas, Galena and Wooster
Green Valley, Canyon Springs, Las Vegas, Silverado, Rancho and Valley
Basic, Coronado, Del Sol, Eldorado, Foothill and Liberty
Arbor View, Durango, Palo Verde, Shadow Ridge, Sierra Vista and Spring Valley
Bishop Gorman, Bonanza, Centennial, Cimarron-Memorial, Desert Oasis and Legacy
Fallon, Dayton, Elko, Fernley, Lowry, South Tahoe, Sparks, Spring Creek and Truckee
Cheyenne, Clark, Faith Lutheran, Mojave, Pahrump Valley and Western
Boulder City, Chaparral, Desert Pines, Moapa Valley, Southeast Career Technical Academy (SECTA), Sunrise Mountain and Virgin Valley
Battle Mountain, Incline, North Tahoe, Pershing County, ROP, Silver Stage, West Wendover, White Pine, Whittell and Yerington
Andre Agassi Prep, Calvary Chapel, Lake Mead, Laughlin, Lincoln County, The Meadows, Mountain View, Needles and White Pine (football only)
Austin, Carlin, Coleville, Eureka, Excel Christian, Gabbs, Jackpot (all but football), McDermitt, Mineral County, Owyhee, Pyramid Lake, Sage Ridge, Sierra Lutheran, Smith Valley, Virginia City and Wells
Adelson, Beatty, Indian Springs, Lund, Oasis Christian, Pahranagat Valley, Round Mountain, Sandy Valley, Spring Mountain, Tonopah, Trinity, Word of Life and C.O. Bastian (independent)