No More 5A, DP To Stay In 4A

Alex Wright

Nevada high school sports is changing, again. In late 2017, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association and the NIAA Board of Control decided to create a new league in high school sports. But after a recent vote in January, the 5A classification is dead, for the time being. On January 19th, in a Reno hotel, the NIAA and the NIAA Board of Control voted 7-2 in favor of staying with the current four division alignment for the next two years. This means that there will be no 5A next year, and Nevada will continue the tradition of a North versus South state championship in the highest classification.

Every two school years, the NIAA looks at the points accumulated by the schools. As the schools earn points for their performances in various sports, sports such as football and basketball. More points are awarded to sports like football and basketball as opposed to other sports such as bowling and tennis.

Northern Nevada schools voted at the end of 2017 that they would not allow any of their schools to join the 5A. Majority ruled on the fate of the schools up north deciding to stay in the 4A. Other schools such as Reed and Damonte Ranch voted in favor of moving up to face the challenge of playing schools such as Gorman and Liberty for a state championship.

Principals said that the 5A was too quick of a jump for the current time. They echoed their sentiments for a 5A in the future, but not right now. Also that the realignment would put teams that were not ready for the big stage in a difficult spot-such as Las Vegas High School, having a 3-7 record for football, but acquiring enough points for the then 5A. Facing teams such as Bishop Gorman and Liberty would place a team like that in a difficult spot.

The teams are broken up into four 4A leagues, the leagues will no longer be names according to their region, but will still have teams from the four corners of southern Nevada. League A, B, C, and D. A southeast, B southeast, C northwest, D Northeast. Up north, all leagues will maintain unchanged in 4A and 3A.

For Desert Pines, they have earned enough points in the rubric system to move up to class 4A. In the original vote, the Jaguars were slated to play in the 4A Northern division. Which included teams like Bonanza, Eldorado, and Mojave. After the extinction of 5A, Desert Pine’s new division (League D) will include more quality opponents such as Canyon Springs, Las Vegas High School, and Legacy.

Their non-football league will also be League D, however their will be a few more teams that are 3A for football, such as Cheyenne and Rancho. Also moving up to 4A from 3A will be S.E.C.T.A, other schools like Boulder City are ineligible to move up due to their low enrolment numbers

At the end of the day, the principals took into consideration on what is of best interest for the students. Some of these schools have experienced issues increasing participation numbers. A prime example could be seen in the Northeast League in football, there has been schools such as Valley, Eldorado, and Rancho. Those schools comprised for the weakest regular season record among the other leagues in Nevada.

With putting schools in leagues where they have no chance to succeed or develop as a program, leads to those low enrollment numbers. Students are less likely to participate, when they know they have no chance of winning games or a state championship. And at the end of the day, the individuals that will be impacted the most are the student athletes.

The students are the ones who have to face the competition on the field. They are the ones who are working their tails off in the classroom and on the field. What the NIAA is trying to do is to make the playing field even for all parties, and satisfy all parties. The students, the southern schools, and the northern schools have argued in the past on how the NIAA should align their teams so no one has an unfair advantage or the students do not face any benefits.

The 5A was supposed to help create an level playing field, but the constant argument and discussion about how many teams, who gets in, does the north get involved, have ended up delaying that from happening. Now a school like Desert Pines will have the opportunity to prove themselves against the powerhouses of 4A such as Gorman, Liberty, and Coronado. Next year will be interesting to see if Desert Pines can take it to them.