Proposal to NIAA is latest tactic in plan for Yerington football to drop to 2A
YERINGTON — Even though Yerington had a chance of making the playoffs last year, coach Cody Neville said if the team had played in the Northern 3A again he would’ve resigned.
“I can honestly say that if we wouldn’t have had the independent schedule, I wouldn’t be the coach at Yerington this year,” Neville said. “I’m not kidding. It had nothing to do with winning games. I can handle losing. But as a father myself, I couldn’t deal with the guilt of putting my players in a situation where they have an increased chance of getting hurt. And that was happening.”
Neville has been the main proponent of trying to get Yerington to drop to the 2A. But under Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association rules, a 3A school can only drop automatically when its enrollment is under 460 students for two consecutive years. That never happened at Yerington, although its enrollment had been under 460 some years. But after several petitions to the NIAA were denied, Neville and school administrators had to think of another solution.
Now they think they’ve found it. At the NIAA’s next meeting in September, Yerington will deliver a proposal stating it should compete in the Northern 2A only in the sport of football. All other sports will remain in the 3A. The NIAA will have to approve the proposal through a voting process.
“It’s a proposal completely new to the NIAA. They never have seen anything like it and we feel good about something happening with it,” Neville said. “The initial response from them is pretty good. We have unanimous support from both the Northern 3A and the southern schools. We have unanimous support from the Northern 2A schools. The only concern from the southern 2A schools was if all sports would move to 2A. Once they knew that it was only football and not all the other sports, they supported it.”
Highlighted in the proposal will be a nationwide survey completed by a sports trainer. In it will show only about 4 out of 1,000 athletes suffer an injury that is a sprain or worse. Neville said that the last three years he was having anywhere from 1-3 injuries of that severity each game.
“That’s one, two and three injuries per 22 kids, which is a lot worse than the national average,” Neville said. “We go up against Manogue and they have 50 athletes on the sideline. I got 22 players. A lot of the schools in the 3A are bringing in fresh players every down and on offense and defense. I don’t have that luxury. So by the time the game is in the third and fourth quarter, my players are tired. And that’s when injuries are more likely to occur. No other school in the 3A has that problem. It’s an interesting proposal just because football is the one sport where serious injuries can happen.”
Yerington went 1-8 in 2000 and 2001 and its only wins both were against 2A Incline. In 2002, though, the Lions went 3-6 overall and 3-5 in the Northern 3A. But a two-game skid to end the season eliminated their postseason hopes.