There will be high school football in Nevada this fall, but it will be a little different than previous seasons.
At an emergency meeting Thursday, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Board of Control approved a plan to split the big school’s 5A class into three separate divisions, 5A I, 5A II and 5A III for football.
The new classes separate the top seven schools in the Las Vegas area, based on rubric points earned over the past two seasons, into their own class, the 5A I.
A team in each of the three 5A divisions could be promoted or relegated after the season depending on how they finish.
There will be eight teams in North 3A.
The 5A II North will compete with the 5A II South and the 5A III North with the 5A III South in the state soccer playoffs.
In football, the 5A II North would include: Bishop Manogue, McQueen, Spanish Springs, Reed, Damonte Ranch and Reno.
All six teams would make the playoffs, with the top two seedlings receiving a first-round bye.
The 5A III – North would include: North Valleys, Carson, Wooster, Galena, Hug and Douglas.
The eight-team Class 3A – North would go head-to-head with South 3A for the state title game. All eight teams in the 3A North would qualify for the playoffs.
3A North includes: Fallon, Elko, Fernley, Lowry, South Tahoe, Spring Creek, Sparks and Truckee.
The 5A I South, which are only Las Vegas area schools, would include: Bishop Gorman, Liberty, Silverado, Arbor View, Shadow Ridge Desert Pines, and Coronado.
The 4A is also only schools in the Las Vegas area.
At Thursday’s meeting, there was some discussion about having too many state champions. This new plan creates seven state champions. There are 105 schools that play soccer in Nevada, which means one state champion for every 14 teams, diluting the prestige of winning a title.
The NIAA also still tries to play the state championship games at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Seven state championship games in one day will not be able to be played there.
NIAA Executive Director Donnie Nelson said talks are underway with the Las Vegas Raiders about using the stadium for the high school state championships, but that no timeline has been set yet.
The other autumn sports – volleyball, cross-country skiing, girls’ golf, soccer and tennis – have already been realigned. There will not be three distinct 5A divisions for these fall sports because the schools in northern Nevada will primarily play in their traditional leagues, the leagues they have played in for the past few seasons.
The changes come at the state tournament, which pits the North’s high-class schools against the South 4A in tennis and girls’ soccer.
The other North 5A sports — volleyball, cross-country skiing and boys’ soccer — will be played at the South 5A in the state.
The winter sports of basketball and wrestling will be discussed at the meeting on March 7th and possibly realigned. Southern Nevada also offers bowling and flag football for girls.
Jim Krajewski covers collegiate, high school and youth sports for the Reno Gazette Journal. Follow him on Twitter @RGJPreps. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com