Yerington has to move back up to 3A in football |

Yerington has to move back up to 3A in football

Yerington High literally got caught up in a numbers game in Wednesday’s Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Board meeting.

And schools like Yerington and Pahrump Valley continue to demonstrate what has always been the toughest challenge for the NIAA and that’s really an inability to come up with a suitable number of schools for the 3A division.

The NIAA board set its policy this past summer when deciding on realignment and that’s to strictly to go by the enrollment numbers. The NIAA board also set a standard on Wednesday that schools can move up, but schools can’t move down.

So Yerington and Pahrump Valley got caught in the crossfire. Yerington’s petition to move down to the 2A in all sports was denied by the NIAA board on Wednesday.

Actually the vote was a 4-4 tie. (One board member was absent due to an illness). Since a majority vote was needed to approve Yerington’s petition, it was in effect denied.

That means Yerington, which is competing in the Northern 2A in football this season, will have to move back up to the Northern 3A in football in the fall of 2008. Yerington has been competing in the 3A in all other sports, but after considerable effort, won a petition to be allowed to compete in the 2A in football only.

It was an interesting decision by Yerington to petition to compete in the 2A in all sports. And it will be interesting to see if Yerington will again petition the board to move down to the 2A in football only again, which it can do in the fall of 2008.

If Yerington wins a petition to move back down to the 2A in football in 2008, it could return to the division in 2009. If not, Yerington could have to stay in the 3A in football through the next realignment cycle, which means through the 2011season.

Yerington will give the Northern 3A seven schools in football in 2008, joining Dayton, Fernley, Sparks, Truckee, Spring Creek and Lowry. The NIAA had been looking at what could have been really a more legitimate 3A division by dropping South Tahoe, Fallon and Elko, but being unable to satisfy all those involved, the board decided just to go by the numbers.

That means Yerington, with an enrollment of 500 students, will again be at the bottom end of the 3A with a widespread enrollment range from 461-1,200.

Pahrump Valley also petitioned to stay in the 3A as its enrollment will move it to the bottom end of the 4A beginning in 2008-2009. So beginning next year, Pahrump will be in a league with such schools as Durango and Sierra Vista and the Southern 4A will be left with four schools.

NIAA assistant director Donnie Nelson said all the schools, including Manogue, which petitioned to move up, were allowed to move up, while all the schools that petitioned to move down, weren’t allowed to move down. So Manogue will stay in the 4A. But Nelson added all the votes were close.

“Right, wrong or indifferent they were consistent,” said Nelson about the board. “It was a long day. It was not easy.”

The state championship format (excluding golf and cross country) will also stay at four schools as the board decided not to increase state tournaments back up to eight teams. So that means the NIAA 4A State format will remain the same, with only one Northern school advancing to the state tournament when it’s held in the South and two Northern and two Southern teams competing when state events are held in the North.

In sports such as swimming, track, wrestling, golf and cross country, the number of individual athletes qualifying for state will also remain unchanged. There was a petition to increase the number of state qualifiers in wrestling from eight to 16, but that was denied.

This year’s NIAA 4A State championship game will be held at Sam Boyd Stadium with the 1A, 2A and 3A games being held at Damonte Ranch. This year’s state basketball tournament will be held at Lawlor Events Center along with two other sites. A leading candidate to be one of those sites is Spanish Springs.

The NIAA also entered a deal in which Farmer’s Insurance is becoming a co-title sponsor with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Nelson said that will allow the NIAA to provide $30,000 per year in scholarships to college-bound student athletes. “That’s a big deal for us,” Nelson said.