NIAA realignment brings changes across fall sports landscape
SPARKS — The Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association (NIAA) approved its new prep sports realignment plan Wednesday afternoon, during its Board of Control meeting.
The biggest sweeping change for Nevada will be the adoption of a 5A classification for the biggest schools in the state.
The new classification is designed for competitive balance across the state, but will add larger changes to Northern Nevada prep sports.
With the creation of Class 5A, Class 4A will turn into strictly a Southern Nevada classification — resulting in Class 3A being a step below 5A in Northern Nevada.
The NIAA outlined a new sport-by-sport rubric designed to allow schools to move up and down in classifications every two years in order to maintain a competitive balance amongst the entire class. Class changes will be entirely based on rubric points earned over the next two seasons.
The changes to the classifications will eliminate the Sierra and High Desert leagues in Northern Nevada as Class 5A will be one ‘North Region,’ which will compete with one southern 5A league for state titles.
All classification changes for classes 3A, 4A and 5A were for fall sports only, leaving winter and spring sports realignment to be voted on at NIAA meetings later this year.
For Douglas High School, the changes will bring all sports up to the 5A level next fall except for girls golf and boys soccer.
Based on the NIAA’s rubric points, Douglas girls golf and boys soccer were dropped to Class 3A over the next two years after scoring the 10th (girls golf) and 12th (boys soccer) most points.
The new 5A Northern Region will have nine teams in all fall sports in 2020 while Class 3A will be one region of 12 teams split into two leagues of six.
Starting with Class 5A the new Northern Region will contain the following teams for each sport.
Football: Douglas, Carson, Bishop Manogue, Damonte Ranch, Galena, McQueen, Reed, Reno and Spanish Springs
Girls volleyball: Douglas, Carson, Bishop Manogue, Damonte Ranch, Galena, McQueen, Reed, Reno and Spanish Springs
Girls soccer: Douglas, Carson, Galena, McQueen, Spanish Springs, Reno, Reed, Damonte Ranch and Bishop Manogue.
Boys and girls tennis: Douglas, Carson, Bishop Manogue, Damonte Ranch, Galena, McQueen, Reed, Reno and Spanish Springs.
Boys cross country: Douglas, Carson, Damonte Ranch, Bishop Manogue, Galena, McQueen, Reed, Reno and Spanish Springs.
Girls cross country: Douglas, Carson, Bishop Manogue, Damonte Ranch, Galena, McQueen, Reed, Reno, Spanish Springs
Douglas girls golf and boys soccer that were dropped to Class 3A will join a region of 12 teams, split equally into two leagues of six.
Boys soccer: (West League) Douglas, Bishop Manogue, McQueen, Reno, South Tahoe and Truckee.
Girls golf: (Division) Douglas, Churchill County (Fallon), Dayton, Elko, Fernley and Hug.
With changes to each classification comes changes to the postseason brackets as Class 5A is now one combined region.
In Class 5A, Northern Region football will see eight of the nine teams in the region qualify for the playoffs.
Based on regular season regional play, each team will be seeded No. 1 – No. 8 with the higher seed receiving home field advantage until the state final.
Each state final will be played against the winner of the South Region (Mountain and Desert Leagues) at a neutral site.
The state title game will alternate between being played in Southern Nevada on even years (2020, 2022, etc.) and the north on odd years (2021, 2023, etc.).
At the 5A level in girls volleyball, soccer and tennis the top two teams from the Northern and Southern regions will meet in the state final four, with the top seed from the north playing the No. 2 seed from the south and vice versa.
For 5A cross country, the top five teams and top seven individuals from the regional meet will qualify for the state meet.
In 5A tennis, the top five teams in the north and south will qualify for the state tournament while the top five placewinners in the singles and doubles tournaments will also qualify for the state tourney.
For Douglas girls golf – now playing in 3A – the top three teams from its 12-team region will make it to the state tournament along with the top six individuals not on a state qualifying team.
In boys soccer, the Tigers will need to be a top two team in the Northern region, following the regional tournament in order to qualify for the state tournament.