Las Vegas Sun

August 17, 2019

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Ray Brewer: From the Pressbox

ray brewer:

Nevada high school sports teams deserve better

2014 High School Football

Las Vegas Sun

Spring Valley High School football players Shiloh Fao, Christian Tasi and Drazen Tojic on Monday, July 21, 2014.

Click to enlarge photo

The Sun's Case Keefer, Adelaide Chen and Ray Brewer calculated playoff scenarios involving the six Division I-A Sunset high school football teams fighting this week for four playoff spots. There are eight scenarios.

Prep Sports Now

Commencing Division 1A week

Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer run through some of the plethora of playoff possibilities on the lower level before getting to their picks.

The way high school sports standings are kept by organizers in Nevada is severely broken.

A tiebreaker scenario this week involving six high school football teams in the Division I-A Sunset League is so confusing, some of the league’s coaches spent Monday trying to crack the tiebreaker rules themselves to learn what outcome they will need Friday in the regular season finale to advance to next week’s playoffs.

A better solution would have been for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, the group that governs high school sports, to distribute the scenarios so there is no confusion. But, in Nevada, the NIAA doesn’t keep its own standings.

That surprisingly is done by a reporter at the Review-Journal, which publishes playoff brackets and distributes to the NIAA to forward to schools and other media.

Apparently, the reporter at the R-J knows the NIAA better than the NIAA knows itself.

I got that impression Monday when I called the NIAA looking for tiebreaker scenarios. My plan was to outline the possibilities so coaches could focus on coaching. But I was told standings aren’t kept in the NIAA office and was given the number to the R-J.

What if I worked for Fox Sports and called the NFL looking for playoff tiebreakers and were given the number to ESPN?

“To be honest with you, it’s a big mess,” one coach told me. “The boys are all confused by it.”

The method of calculating standings is nothing new for the NIAA. In past seasons, I’ve also called looking for postseason scenarios only to get an email forwarded to me from the NIAA with information calculated by the R-J reporter.

But that was two years ago, when the R-J was the major sponsor of the NIAA and was considered the official standings provider. The R-J no longer gives money to the NIAA, which is now affiliated with Maxpreps.com. Maxpreps records team-by-team stats but doesn’t keep standings.

With six teams fighting for four playoff spots and as many as eight tiebreakers scenarios in play, some teams will have to win their game and root for other teams to also win with hopes of squeezing into the postseason. After seven league games, advancing may come down to a margin of victory in a game played last month. Pure craziness, right?

The tiebreaker isn’t as easy as head-to-head competition because Cheyenne, Faith Lutheran, Sierra Vista and Spring Valley have 4-2 records, and Clark and Mojave are 3-3. Each team has multiple wins against the others, creating a rare logjam in the standings. Spring Valley is the only team guaranteed to advance.

Take Clark, for instance.

One scenario requires the Chargers beating Cheyenne by at least four points and also needing Spring Valley to beat Faith Lutheran.

On Monday, I called most of the Division I-A Sunset coaches to get their feedback on what they needed to do to advance. Case Keefer, Adelaide Chen and I took that information, analyzed the tiebreaker rules and came up with scenarios. Keefer did most of the heavy lifting.

Note: These haven’t been verified by the NIAA. Or, of course, the standings guru at the R-J.



SCENARIO 1

Cheyenne beats Clark

Faith Lutheran beats Spring Valley

Sierra Vista beats Pahrump Valley

RESULTS

1. Faith Lutheran

2. Sierra Vista

3. Cheyenne

4. Spring Valley



SCENARIO 2

Clark beats Cheyenne

Faith Lutheran beats Spring Valley

Sierra Vista beats Pahrump Valley

RESULTS

1. Faith Lutheran

2. Sierra Vista

3. Cheyenne

4. Spring Valley



SCENARIO 3

Cheyenne beats Clark

Spring Valley beats Faith Lutheran

Sierra Vista beats Pahrump Valley

RESULTS

1. Sierra Vista

2. Cheyenne

3. Spring Valley

4. Faith Lutheran



SCENARIO 4

Clark beats Cheyenne

Spring Valley beats Faith Lutheran

Sierra Vista beats Pahrump Valley

RESULTS

1. Sierra Vista

2. Spring Valley

3. Clark

4. Cheyenne



SCENARIO 5

Clark beats Cheyenne

Spring Valley beats Faith Lutheran

Pahrump Valley beats Sierra Vista

RESULTS

1. Spring Valley

2. Faith Lutheran

3. Mojave

4. Clark (win by 4) or Sierra Vista



SCENARIO 6

Clark beats Cheyenne

Faith Lutheran beats Spring Valley

Pahrump Valley beats Sierra Vista

RESULTS

1. Faith Lutheran

2. Sierra Vista

3. Spring Valley

4. Cheyenne



SCENARIO 7

Cheyenne beats Clark

Faith Lutheran beats Spring Valley

Pahrump Valley beats Sierra Vista

RESULTS

1. Cheyenne

2. Faith Lutheran

3. Mojave

4. Spring Valley



SCENARIO 8

Cheyenne beats Clark

Spring Valley beats Faith Lutheran

Pahrump Valley beats Sierra Vista

RESULTS

1. Cheyenne

2. Spring Valley

3. Faith Lutheran

4. Mojave

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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