On Jan. 20-21 the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association met to discuss new state tournament formats for Division I-A. The Southern Division has 16 in the south and there are nine teams in the north, depending on the sport. The South and the North had to come to an agreement on what equal representation at the state level would be like in future NIAA sporting contests.
Assistant Director of the NIAA Donnie Nelson said the two sides needed to put off a vote and to meet in February and if more time is needed then they will meet again in April.
Trojans Athletic Director Ed Kirkwood said he attended the meeting in January.
He said the two sides just couldn’t come to a decision when it came to team sports.
“At the meeting nothing was approved because in sports like volleyball the situation now is that there are two teams from the North and two from the South and the South feels that’s not fair,” Kirkwood said. “We are saying we have more teams down here so we need more teams in the state tournament format and suggested three for the South and one for the North, but the North doesn’t want to lose any representation.”
Kirkwood said the bottom line is the South wants to expand the amount of teams sent to state, which means more teams will be involved down south and at more cost to Clark County in bus transportation.
Nelson said he is fairly confident that the North and South will be able to come up with an agreement by April.
Chaparral High School Assistant Principal Xavier Antheaume is the southern representative for the Southern Division I-A.
“I know the North wants to keep the same amount of teams represented,” Antheaume said. “They were OK with a three-team expansion and probably were OK if the amount of teams in the South stayed at 10, but now we have gone from 13 to 16. We could keep things as is and then the South would be upset. I think we can find common ground, but someone would have to make concessions.”
Antheaume said it will be hard to find middle ground where everyone is happy.
“I think we can do something like a six-team playoff in the south,” Antheaume said.
He mentioned more formats but the key is to sell it to the South and then it has to be sold to the North. Antheaume would like to see a format where more schools from the south get to participate at state.
Kirkwood said the South was tasked to come up with solutions that would maintain the North representation, but increase the South’s. From his office he and Trojans Assistant Coach Jason Odegard were fooling with a format where there would be four southern representatives at state and just two from the northern.
Lowry High School Principal Ray Parks will be representing the North. He said it should be easier to find a solution for the individual sports like track and wrestling, but didn’t see easy solutions for the team formats.
Parks said his job was to get as much representation for the North as possible.
“I am OK with two from the North, but not with losing any representation,” he said. “The Division I-A South is just exploding in size and now they want to take away representation. The bottom line is we want more representation and the South wants the same thing.”
He said he will fight for the North’s best interests and best interests for the kids from both sides.
“I am optimistic we will be able to come together in April and resolve this,” Parks said.
Sports editor Tony Erquiaga has been a reporter in the north for 14 years.
He would like to see things kept the way they are.
“Being in the north I might be biased but I like the idea of the team sports keeping two spots apiece,” he said. “I think it is a fair deal for both. Teams in northern Nevada have given up a lot to southern Nevada in the last few years.”
Erquiaga said he could also see why the south wants more spots.
“I know there are more teams down south and that is why they are asking for another spot,” Erquiaga said. “I can see their side of it. For me though, I see it being tough for schools with 2,000 to 3,000 kids complain when they will be playing schools much smaller. Right now Lowry is probably at 960 students. Elko and Fallon are around 1,200.”
-Contact sports editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org