Darrell Moody: NIAA gets Wooden Nickel for treatment of Dayton
June 16, 2018
We have the Silver Dollar and Wooden Nickel feature as part of the editorial package here at the Nevada Appeal.
After what I witnessed recently, I would give the NIAA Board of Control a wooden nickel. The group made a brutal error when it denied Dayton's request to move down to 2A for at least one realignment cycle.
I guess the decision shouldn't surprise me, though, because Las Vegas rules high school athletics in the Silver State, and that's wrong. It's also wrong when you have a bunch of administrators, retired and current, who probably have never seen Dayton play a game in any sport other than volleyball, voting on the school's athletic future. Get out from behind the desk, folks, and see some games in areas where you don't reside. It's only fair. It should be a requirement of the position.
If not, maybe there needs to be a competition committee formed. I'd like to see more people on the Board of Control who have athletic backgrounds; men or women who have coached.
Athletics in the state of Nevada are in need of an overhaul. You have one part of the state playing under a different set of rules than the other. I'm talking about the rubric, which the southern schools use and the northern schools don't. And, you need to take the politics out of it.
I sensed Board of Control members didn't like the fact Dayton came in at the 11th hour. That wouldn't have happened if the Board of Control hadn't accepted Valley High's request to move down to 3A despite an enrollment figure of 2,900. Maybe 3A teams in Vegas didn't care, but there was a lot of bitterness when North Valleys was allowed to move down with its enrollment of 2,300. I thought NV should've been allowed to move down because it has been non competitive in most of its sports. Ditto for Dayton, and the Dust Devils covered all of the bases in their appeal.
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There are too many decisions made just on enrollment figures, and that's wrong. I do believe in enrollment figures to start, but you also need to take into account a school's performance on the field. Isn't this about kids? Shouldn't student-athletes have a chance to succeed; be able to play on a somewhat level playing field? I think there either needs to be a point system put in place, or better yet, be able to move schools up and down by individual sports on a yearly basis based on performance. If it can be done in California (Central Section), it should be able to be done in Nevada.
I've been at the Appeal since late 2003, and the Dayton High athletic program is at an all-time low. Part of that can be traced to when the 4A dropped Fallon, South Tahoe and Elko moved down to 3A. The Greenwave has soared to new heights as a 3A team. Fallon, at least in some sports would be back in 4A if you broke things down by sport or went to a point system. Another reason is Dayton is going through a down cycle in terms of athletic ability.
When I arrived in Carson City, the Dust Devils were a good 3A football team under Rick Walker. If I'm not mistaken, Dayton made the state semifinals one season. Dayton hasn't been above .500 since 2009 when it went 6-4.
Football coach Pat Squires went over, in depth, the last three years of football — the scoring differential, injuries and win-loss record. He also pointed out his team was in running clock situations the last eight weeks of the season. I saw the season-ender against Fernley, and if the Vaqueros had kept their starters in, they could've scored 80 points. Dayton's offense couldn't move the ball and the defense was helpless to stop Fernley. It was ugly.
I had to laugh when Bill Darrow, the athletic administrator at Needles High, essentially said the 2A would be ruined if Dayton came down. Darrow essentially said injuries would increase. How does he know that? Does he have a crystal ball?
So it's OK in Darrow's mind Dayton continues to get battered? Talk about turf protecting. I'm so sick of sports in the NIAA because all everybody does is watch out for their own schools. They don't care about the school down the road.
Needles, Darrow's own school, went 10-1 last year and had 39 on its roster, according to MaxPreps. Kinda shoots a hole in that argument don't you think? These schools aren't worried about injuries, they're worried about playoffs.
Battle Mountain went 10-3 and had 35 players, Lovelock went 11-1 and had 30 players. Yerington went 6-4 with a 32-player roster. North Tahoe went 4-5 with a 25-man roster. Silver Stage went 1-7 and had 26 players. White Pine was 4-6 and had 21 players. Incline was 4-3 with 24 players.
Mike Brooks, the new Lovelock coach and the school's athletic director, told me once his own concern was what would happen if Dayton got good all of a sudden. I told him that any decision was for two years, and I told them it would take more than that for Dayton to be good enough to move back up.