SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Eddie Bonine has little doubt that the landscape of Nevada prep sports will undergo sweeping changes in the spring.
After the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association released an attention-grabbing three-class realignment and reclassification plan last May, only the enormous task of rescheduling so late in the school year appeared to delay the proposed changes.
“I'm a percentage guy, and I'd say there is an 80 percent chance you'll see something different,” Bonine said last week as the NIAA was overseeing a variety of fall state tournaments.
To solidify the realignment and reclassification plans, the NIAA Board of Control voted in September to form northern and southern Nevada study committees.
Bonine is in the process of meeting with the two committees for a second time, and their ideas will be pooled so the NIAA can form a formal plan early next year.
“If it's necessary, I'll pull the north and south committees together in Las Vegas, so we can come up with a model that addresses recommendations from both committees,” Bonine said. “We want to be ready to present (a plan) to the board in March so we can get something to the leagues for scheduling.”
Bonine cited four reasons why the NIAA needs to reclassify schools: to reduce travel, cut expenses, decrease time out of classrooms and enhance competition. By addressing these areas, Bonine is encouraged that the NIAA can save the 17 school districts in the state — many of which are budget-strapped — money.
“This is a pimple on the back of a big beast,” he said. “There are a lot of other ways to cut money. In the grand scheme of things, whether it's a dollar, $100, $1,000 or $10,000, a penny saved is a penny earned. We're trying to do what we can. It may not be savings for every school district, but it's going to save a majority of school districts.”
Last year's NIAA three-class realignment plan was mostly embraced by South Tahoe officials but not by Whittell. The proposal moved South Tahoe out of a classification with large-enrollment schools and into a 13-league region with current 4A and 3A members: Wooster, Hug, Elko, Fallon, Truckee, Dayton, Fernley, Lowry, Rite of Passage, Sparks, Spring Creek and Yerington.
Borges was curious as to why football wasn't included in the realignment proposal and if the 13 team league would be split into East and West leagues.
“Whatever Nevada league we end up would be better than any California league placement,” Borges said. “STHS and a few other schools in the Northern Region would be moved away from the 'powerhouses' into a more competitive league.
“If you combined all the STHS fall sports wins and losses from all varsity sports, STHS had a record that would be close to 57 wins, 47 losses and a few ties in soccer. Our coaches, athletes, and community are improving all programs to become more competitive.”
While helping the Vikings become more competitive in football, basketball and baseball, such a realignment would limit the number of league matches for South Tahoe's tennis teams. Many rural schools don't have tennis programs.
Borges said there is proposal on the table that would put all of the Lake Tahoe schools in the same league along with Wooster, Sparks and Hug.
The plan for Whittell last spring was to put the Warriors in Division III with Class 2A and A schools. To break up the 46 schools in the division, the intention was to put Whittell in the Western Region with Coleville, Excel Christian, Gabbs, Gerlach, Hawthorne, Incline, Lovelock, McDermitt, North Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, Sage Ridge, Sierra Lutheran, Silver Stage, Smith Valley and Virginia City.
Whittell's Steve Maltase, now the school's event coordinator, voiced concerns last year about some smaller schools not offering all sports.
“Most of the 2A ADs would prefer to be bunched in with the 3A instead of the 1A. The 1A is strong by itself,” Maltase said last May. “Not all of the schools offer all sports, JV teams and soccer teams. I think it will make it a little difficult to schedule because of that.”
If the NIAA Board of Control does vote for realignment changes in March, Borges said that there would be time to reschedule for a new league.
“We would be scrambling and need a few meetings, but it could be done,” Borges said.
Division I (30 schools)
Northern Region: Bishop Manogue, Carson, Damonte Ranch, Douglas, Galena, McQueen, North Valleys, Reed, Reno, Spanish Springs
Sunrise Region: Coronado, Desert Pines, Eldorado, Foothill, Green Valley, Las Vegas, Liberty, Rancho, Silverado, Valley
Sunset Region: Bishop Gorman, Bonanza, Centennial, Cheyenne, Cimarron-Memorial, Durango, Palo Verde, Shadow Ridge, Sierra Vista, Spring Valley
Division II (30 schools)
Northern Region: Dayton, Elko, Fallon, Fernley, Hug, Lowry, Rite of Passage, South Tahoe, Sparks, Spring Creek, Truckee, Wooster, Yerington
Sunrise Region: Basic, Boulder City, Canyon Springs, Chaparral, Del Sol, Moapa Valley, SECTA, Sunrise Mountain, Virgin Valley
Sunset Region: Arbor View, Clark, Desert Oasis, Faith Lutheran, Legacy, Mojave, Pahrump Valley, Western
Division III (46 schools)
Western Region: Coleville, Excel Christian, Gabbs, Gerlach, Hawthorne, Incline, Lovelock, McDermitt, North Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, Sage Ridge, Sierra Lutheran, Silver Stage, Smith Valley, Virginia City, Whittell
Eastern Region: Austin, Battle Mountain, Carlin, Eureka, Independence, Jackpot, Lund, Owyhee, Round Mountain, Tonopah, Wells, West Wendover, White Pine
Southern Region: Adelson, Agassi Prep, Beatty, Calvary Chapel, Explore Knowledge Academy, Henderson International, Indian Springs, Lake Mead, Laughlin, Lincoln County, The Meadows, Mountain View, Needles, Pahranagat Valley, Sandy Valley, Spring Mountain, Trinity