North Valleys looking to move down a level
Next month, North Valleys High School will go before the NIAA and petition to move down to 1A for all sports.
I say it’s about time, and despite the fact that North Valleys has more than 2,000 students, I hope the NIAA and its member schools allow it to happen. Forty percent of North Valleys’ population is economically disadvantaged, and 47 percent of the student body is made up of minorities, many of whom don’t participate in athletics for one reason or another.
This is clearly a case where common sense needs to be used. North Valleys isn’t competitive in most sports despite its size, and the NIAA membership needs to realize it. Enrollment is important in determining at what level a school should play, but so is the ability for that school to compete, and that also needs to be taken into consideration.
One Washoe County school administrator told me recently that he would support the move if he had a say in the situation.
I stated several years ago that I thought Wooster should be 1A in all sports. A friend of mine suggested that Wooster should be allowed to go back into D-1 football. That would be a mistake because the Colts can’t even compete at the 1-A status, and they don’t do well in other sports. Hug has the enrollment to move down, but the Hawks won’t … at least not right now. The difference between Hug and North Valleys is that Hug is still a top-notch basketball program, is improving in football, is solid in soccer and is still strong in track. The girls’ programs at Hug have struggled, and they certainly should be down a level. However the NIAA doesn’t like and won’t do that. Wooster was allowed to move down for football, but that’s a one-time thing or so I’ve been told.
This could be a good thing for Division I football. If North Valleys moved down a level, it would leave Division I with 10 football teams, which means that Division I could go back to one league where every team played each other. And, the teams could still have a true non-league game against an out-of-area school and use that as a Hall of Fame game. To me, it’s a win-win situation. North Valleys would get an opportunity to be in a place where it could have some success, and Division I could have one league in all sports. It would leave Division 1A with 11 schools for football and 10 for everything else.
It certainly would mean more travel for North Valleys, but that would be its cross to bear.
When I worked in the East Bay, there were some splinter leagues depending on the sport. You might have medium-sized schools playing with small schools or large schools mixed in with medium-sized schools. This happened because the North Coast Section was trying to cut down travel costs for schools. At the end of the year, the NCS would have a selection meeting and determine playoff entrants. Any reason why the NIAA can’t do this?
Nobody wants to say this, so I will. Elko, Spring Creek and Lowry cause the problems because of their remoteness. Nobody, and I mean nobody, enjoys making that trip up there. In the current 1A league, something should be done so that JV and freshmen teams aren’t making that trip, just varsity squads. Playing triple round-robins with the schools in the area. JV and freshmen games don’t mean anything. Those teams exist to feed the varsity programs.