NIAA Realignment

Moving downfield

NIAA realignment committee approves football plan

Empty high school locker room.

Empty high school locker room.

After nearly four months and more than a half-dozen meetings, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association realignment committee Monday finalized a proposal to change high school football.

The proposal will not become official until after an appeals meeting next Monday and an NIAA Board of Control vote to approve the changes in March.

After numerous proposals were suggested and rejected, the realignment committee unanimously approved the plan Monday.

All changes that were being discussed were at the 3A, 4A and 5A levels, as Class 1A and 2A changes had already been approved.


Class 5A will see the most dramatic changes, as it is now expected to break into three subdivisions that will compete separately for state titles.

Each classification breakdown in 5A will have a promotion/relegation element that will adjust annually.

Class 5A-I will be strictly a Southern Nevada football classification, containing the top seven teams from the south. For fall 2023, those teams would be Bishop Gorman, Liberty, Silverado, Arbor View, Shadow Ridge, Desert Pines and Coronado.

The bottom two teams will drop to Class 5A-II.

Northern and southern Nevada will have teams competing in Class 5A-II, as the No. 8 through No. 14 teams from the south will challenge for a state title against the top six teams from the North.

The alignment breakdown is as follows:

• Class 5A-II North: Bishop Manogue, McQueen, Spanish Springs, Reed, Damonte Ranch and Reno.

• Class 5A-II South: Las Vegas, Green Valley, Foothill, Basic, Sierra Vista, Durango and Faith Lutheran.

For the North, the team that finishes sixth will be relegated to Class 5A-III. Meanwhile, the top two seeds in the North region will get byes to open the postseason.

For Class 5A-III the breakdown is:

• Class 5A-III North: Carson, Douglas, North Valleys, Wooster, Galena and Hug.

• Class 5A-III South: Desert Oasis, Spring Valley, Palo Verde, Cimarron-Memorial, Clark, Legacy and Rancho.

For the North, the top team at the end of the regular season will be promoted to Class 5A-II, replacing the team that is relegated to Class 5A-III.

The top two teams from the North will get byes in the opening round of the postseason, with the best team from each region meeting for a state title.

Art Anderson, the liaison for Class 5A North, said Northern 5A schools voted 11-1 in favor of the proposal.

NIAA Executive Director Donnie Nelson conducted a poll among all 3A, 4A and 5A schools with the new proposal being favored, 42-19.

Kevin McPartilan, one of two liaisons for the 4A/5A south, was the only committee member to voice frustration, stating that he “regrettably” voted yes for the proposal.

With new title games added, the NIAA was unsure if all state title games could be played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.


Class 4A will remain strictly a Las Vegas classification but will allow teams to be promoted and relegated from Class 5A.

Meanwhile, Class 3A will be “enrollment-protected schools” in the North and the South with each region consisting of eight teams.

The Class 3A North’s eight teams will be Fallon, Elko, Fernley, Lowry, Spring Creek, South Tahoe, Truckee and Sparks.


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