North Valleys petitions to join Division I-A
Another high school aims to become part of the Northern Division I-A.
North Valleys made its proposal during the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s Board of Control meeting on Tuesday at the Peppermill Resort and Casino in Reno.
Donnie Nelson, associate director of the NIAA, was not present Tuesday due to an illness, but said the lead-up to North Valleys’ petition was met with mixed results. He said the Division I schools voted to allow the move, while the Northern DI-A contingent voted 9-0 against.
The current Northern DI-A landscape consists of Fallon, Fernley, Dayton, Elko, Lowry, Sparks, South Tahoe, Truckee and Spring Creek. Wooster competes in the I-A for football only.
North Valleys Athletic Administrator Josh Reddig, though, said the 9-0 vote was a mistake on his part. He said due to his lack of knowledge of the process, he failed to inform the Northern DI-A of his school’s intention to present its motion at the NIAA meeting.
“It boiled down to maybe me not following some of the procedures I was not aware of,” Reddig said. “I didn’t reach out to the I-A, so I take responsibility for that, but I wasn’t sure when I was supposed to.”
Despite the hiccup, Reddig said he will meet with the Northern DI-A brass Nov. 4 in Winnemucca at a league meeting. There, he will pitch the league on why North Valleys would be a promising addition.
Nevertheless, Reddig said he wants to convey to the Northern I-A that North Valleys’ 2,060-student enrollment is irrelevant. He said the school’s athletic participation is 17 percent, or 350 students, although the number may be lower due to athletes who compete in multiple sports.
Another reason, though, for the request to move to the I-A is competitive balance, Reddig added. In the past five years, according to media reports, North Valleys has compiled a 100-292 record in sports that keep won-lost standings.
In addition, numerous athletes either will not participate or have transferred to play at a more competitive school.
“From a competitive standpoint, we’re not getting out every kid to play,” Reddig said. “Because we are not winning, or not competitive, it creates a whole other set of situations.”
Greg Koenig, who represents Region II on the NIAA Board of Control (including Douglas, Carson and Churchill counties) indicated he is not opposed to the petition from North Valleys.
“My personal feeling is I don’t have any hard feelings about North Valleys moving down,” said Koenig, a Churchill County school board member. “I believe the purpose of high school athletics is to try and provide a positive experience for the kids, and part of that is giving them a chance to compete for the playoffs and state championships.”
If the petition is approved in 2014, he added that the benefits to North Valleys could extend from being more competitive on the playing field to increasing its participation in sports.
“If you look at their records over the last five years, other than a couple of teams that have gone to the playoffs, they haven’t been competitive in Division I,” Koenig said. “If you go into every year having a pretty good feeling you don’t have a chance to make the playoffs, that’s not much fun to the kids. This could level the playing field and give their kids have a shot to get to the playoffs and move on into the state championships.”
Mike Altenburg, Elko High School principal and president of the Northern DI-A, said he was surprised the DI allowed the move. He said the initial feeling is the I-A did not want North Valleys, but the school will have a chance to make its case.
Asked if it is ironic that Elko, Fallon and South Tahoe — who all moved down in 2010 — voted against the move, Altenburg said that point came up, but that those schools align better with the rural schools than North Valleys.
“Elko and Fallon kind of look more like the other schools in the league,” Altenburg said. “The coaches and parents accept playing in the league, but they weren’t too sure of North Valleys.”
“I’m going to go with the group,” Altenburg said. “The feeling, at that time (of the vote) is they did not want North Valleys to move down. I think we have a lot of questions. We were a little surprised the Division I allowed them to move down.”
Despite the twist, Altenburg said more information about the North Valleys situation is needed, and welcomes Reddig’s proposal.
“I think it would be a great move to give us a chance to really build a (athletic) program, and to compete against athletes of equal caliber of what we got,” Reddig said.
Altenburg voiced those same concerns plus the group will discuss the state of North Valleys facilities.
For those schools and administrators skeptical of the move, Reddig said North Valleys will be re-evaluated every two years. Should the school become an overwhelming force in the I-A, North Valleys would vault back to the Division I.
Scheduling is also an area of concern. Nelson said next year is the new scheduling block and if schools have already committed to their schedules, North Valleys may have to wait another two years to transition to the I-A.
“There was some talk of the facilities … and some assurances they would be upgraded,” Altenburg said. “Competitive balance is an issue, and we’ll have to get some statistically analysis on how they’ve done. We just want to make sure they are a good partner to join the league.”
In other NIAA news
The 2014 state wrestling tournament will be Feb. 22 in Primm. As a result of additional travel for Clark County schools, the tournament will be one day.
The regional tournaments will be held Feb. 14-15 at their respective locations.
Nelson said no arenas in Las Vegas could be found at a reasonable rate, so the tournament was shuttled to Primm. As a compromise, the tournament was rescheduled for one day to avoid additional travel expenses for Clark County schools.
Maxpreps.com was voted as the NIAA’s official sponsor to track stats and standings starting with the 2013-14 winter season, Nelson said.
Coaches — except in track and cross country — must report scores on the site to be eligible for the postseason.
No discussion was taken regarding the Southern Nevada rubric for realignment for the 2014-15 season.
The rubric determines whether schools from the DI-A will compete in DI using a point system. Nelson said “most likely” two schools will transition up, with two schools moving down.
Five Southern Nevada schools (Boulder City, Moapa Valley, Virgin Valley, Pahrump Valley and Faith Lutheran) are eligible to waive the move should they fall in the top two of the I-A rubric.
North Tahoe is eligible to participate as a championship sport in swimming.
A participation rule in swimming, where athletes must compete in 50 percent of regular season meets to be eligible for the postseason, was tabled due to Nelson’s absence.