NIAA raises prices, sponsor on hold
Tough times are hitting the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.
The economic downturn has forced the NIAA to raise ticket prices for regional and state competitions starting in the 2013-14 school year, according to Assistant Director Donnie Nelson.
Adult prices will rise $3 and seniors, who have been admitted for free, must pay $3. Children 8 and under are free and student prices remain the same.
Nelson said the NIAA, which is the legislative body for Nevada high school sports, made the decision at last week’s Board of Control meeting in Reno. In addition, the NIAA has lost money in eight of the last 10 years and is suffering financially.
“We are trying to generate additional revenue and cut expenses,” Nelson said. “We’ve got to find a way to stay in operation. We are less than 2 years from being out of business.”
Nelson said the organization cannot solely rely on sponsorship money, so the raised ticket prices were a must. He added the NIAA did not want to raise fees to member schools because most institutions are also hurting financially.
The primary reasons for the ticket increase, Nelson said, is due to the rising costs of renting venues for state events such as Lawlor Events Center in Reno or the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for the state basketball tournament. In addition, “business costs in general” have increased.
One option for the NIAA, however, is to ditch the out-of-pocket expense of outside venues and use high schools as the host sites for state competitions.
“When there is a possibility and a sport lends itself, we like to use a marquee venue,” Nelson said. “We’ll see and that may continue to exist or may not.
“Like all things, you don’t want to survive on sponsorship dollars because that fluctuates year to year,” Nelson said. “That’s what we’re doing, and that’s not a good business policy. Drastic times call for drastic measures.”
In other NIAA news —
The NIAA and MaxPreps.com did not enter into a sponsorship agreement as many suspected the two entities would do. Nelson said details of the contract were not ready in time for the meeting, although he expects action will be taken at the board’s June meeting.
The deal would bring much needed revenue to the NIAA and also include a mandatory stipulation of coaches reporting scores to qualify for the postseason. Schools in the south must have current standings through NevadaPreps.com or they are ineligible for the postseason, Nelson added.
“We would mandate that (with MaxPreps.com),” he said. “It would serve everyone very well. Max Preps would also have statistical leaders.”
Nelson said the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s prep website, NevadaPreps.com, houses the official NIAA standings for the southern leagues, but no such site exists in the North.
Many coaches in the North, though, do not report scores to media outlets or MaxPreps.com, but the stipulation would require those individuals to do so.
“How it relates to NevadaPreps.com and the actual terms of the contract are still to be determined,” Nelson said.
The board also approved, for the second consecutive year, its heat acclimatization period for football only.
The NIAA passed the legislation for football in June 2012, which allows for football players to begin practice four days earlier without pads.
Nelson said the response from last year was “very positive” and the board will also discuss whether to add other fall sports in the future.
“I know the board wanted to do a two-year trial for football to see how it works,” Nelson said. “We will get more data from the coaches. Football is a little more unique because once you put on the gear, that changes the heat composition in the body.
A Nevada State Senate Bill, SB125, is making its way through the legislature regarding all-star games during the school year. The bill was introduced by Munford Kihuen.
Currently, NIAA regulations do no permit all-star games until after the athletic year has ended, which is in mid-May.
“We have a group or two that has some influence and is trying to get that changed,” Nelson said. “I think everything is going to be done by working together to accomplish that. At the same time, we got to make sure it’s not somebody who is trying to make money off the kids … that’s what’s scary.”
The Southern Nevada rubric, which is used to determine which schools compete in Division I or DI-A, was up for discussion. Nelson said numerous questions were raised about when the cycle would end, how the NIAA determines the point values, how many schools would move to name a few.
The rubric is a mathematical formula that determines which schools will participate in the two leagues. This is the first year of the rubric and Nelson said the formula will operate every two years or six seasons — two each for fall, winter and spring.
“There are no answers for that, it was more of an informational update,” Nelson said.
However, he added there will be movement between the two leagues.
“We will have some late scheduling changes,” Nelson said.
The rubric does not include the Northern DI and DI-A.