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March 24, 2018

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high school sports:

CCSD principals will ask NIAA to hold off on expanding to class 5A


L.E. Baskow

Liberty players celebrate their win over Basic high school in the Sunrise regional high school football championship game on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Liberty HS football is a Moment of the Year finalists at the Sun Standout the Sun Standout Awards.

Clark County School District principals will attempt to block a prep sports realignment proposal which calls for a new class 5A for high-achieving athletic programs.

They voted unanimously this week to ask the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Board of Control next week during its meeting in Reno to hold off on adding the new classification for two years. That would give leaders more time to evaluate a “fair and proper” realignment, says Eldorado High Principal Dave Wilson.

The NIAA’s realignment committee in mid-December hammered out details on the new class over a pair of five-hour meetings featuring much debate. The 12-school 5A is designed for schools with consistently strong programs— such as Bishop Gorman and Liberty football and Centennial girls basketball — and scheduled to start in the fall.

“We have never come to a unanimous consensus on anything before. Yet, we did for this,” Wilson said. “We wanted to do what is right by as many kids as we could. We wanted (realignment) done right.”

The principals plan to ask the board to approve the realignment committee’s recommendation for the class 3A, which features small-town schools such as Moapa Valley and struggling Las Vegas schools like Sunrise Mountain. Similar to the past two years, the remaining schools would play in the 4A, where lopsided scores are frequent and the disparity between the haves and have-nots spurred talks of a class 5A.

Don’t get the principals wrong: They agree the 5A is needed; it just needs to be formatted correctly, multiple principals indicated Thursday night.

In the current proposal, for instance, a team pegged for the 5A in football was defeated by the mercy-rule of a running clock last season by a school assigned to the 3A. And in the current recommendation, football is the lone sport realigned separately. The principals argue that more sports should be aligned individually when applicable. Baseball and softball teams travel together to save on transportation costs, and would need to be in the same classification.

“Why limit yourself to football?,” Wilson said.

The principals will also ask Reno-area schools to join the 5A. Only a handful of Northern Region schools were willing to play in the new class and they voted to all stay in the 4A. That means Las Vegas schools in the 5A wouldn’t play for a true state championship.

The principals will gather Friday to start working on an alternative plan and presentation for next week’s meeting.

“We’ll be open-minded. We’ll have a blank chalkboard,” Wilson said.

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

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