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Commentary: Finally a realignment plan with fresh ideas
by Dan Eckles - Commentary
Jan 14, 2010 | 1273 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I was pretty visible in my criticism of the NIAA, Nevada’s governing body for prep sports, and its handling of efforts to cut costs and trim expenses late last spring. I took some heat for it, but I know that comes with the job.

However, let me step up right now and commend the NIAA on a new realignment proposal it released this week. The NIAA’s realignment

committees did a great job of ‘thinking outside the box’ on this proposal. There are fresh, new ideas in this plan and it’s about time.

I have watched officials at the NIAA beat their heads against a wall for nearly three years when they tried to implement various plans for realigning the state’s high school athletic programs. Some of their frustrations stemmed from trying to put into effect the same ideas. Well if those flawed plans came under fire the first time, it makes sense they would in a second review as well.

How many times did school officials at Hug and Wooster need to tell the NIAA and others they did not want to become 3A members? Members of the latest realignment committee finally listened because this latest realignment proposal has both schools remaining in the 4A ranks.

The biggest revelation is the NIAA finally seems to be open to building leagues comprised of schools of different sizes. This will allow schools to stay closer to home in league play, thus saving on travel costs and

keeping students in class longer. Schools would then play opponents of like enrollment numbers for postseason play.

It’s unclear why this idea has taken so long to grab hold in Nevada. Adjacent states like Arizona, Idaho and California have been doing this for years. Maybe it’s the state’s current budget crisis leaving more prep athletic officials to understand things cannot go on as they have for the past two decades.

Nevada has enough 4A and 1A schools for competitive balance. For years the problem has lied in the 3A and 2A ranks. For all intents and purposes, this new

proposal takes three of the smaller 4A schools — South Tahoe, Elko and Fallon — and combines them with existing 3A and 2A North schools to form three separate leagues across northern Nevada. The plan will save schools thousands in travel expenses. I believe competitive imbalances will be minimal and it will create new long-

needed rivalries.

There are issues that still need to be cleared up, largely postseason-qualifying, but this proposal is the best realignment plan I've seen over the past three years.

Dan Eckles is the Sparks Tribune’s sports editor. He can be reached via email at: deckles@dailysparkstribune.com
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