All of Hug High School’s athletic teams will remain at the Division I level next season following the outcome of discussions held at Wednesday’s Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Board of Control meeting in Reno.
Athletic administrators at the school had petitioned the NIAA to move their volleyball and girls soccer teams to independent status for the next two academic years. But the proposal did not gain much traction with the Board of Control on Wednesday, with no member seconding the motion forward to a vote, according to NIAA assistant director Donnie Nelson.
Wednesday’s decision, combined with North Valleys’ failed proposal from the fall to move down to the Division I-A level, means that the Division I Northern Region will retain its 12-team alignment for all sports except football. Division I member Wooster plays football at the I-A level.
“I’m surprised and confused,” Hug vice principal and athletic administrator Brad Bodine said. “I think it not only benefits Hug, but, at the very least, it doesn’t hurt the other (Division I North) schools.
“It’s just confusing to me, because there’s all kinds of reasons to allow (the two teams) to do this, and I can’t think of any to say no.”
Nelson paraphrased much of the Hug discussion as the Board of Control having concerns over allowing member schools to determine their own status on a sport-by-sport basis, which it historically has not approved. An area of exception in recent years has been football, where safety concerns have been cited in allowing schools to move down in classification or to experiment with independent status.
Hug athletic director Marv Mercer said he was “frustrated” with Wednesday’s events, but that Hug would try to be proactive as the 2014-15 academic year approaches. As an example, Mercer said he’d like to see the Hawks’ volleyball and girls soccer teams fill their non-league schedules with as many lower-division opponents as possible.
“I wanted to give our kids an opportunity to see if we could be competitive with certain teams,” Mercer said. “One of the reasons (for the proposal) … was simply to find where we stood, competition-wise.
“I know that we can play tournaments and do some other things with those non-league games. I think that’s what it’s really all about. We’ll see what we can come up with.”
In other items before the Board of Control on Wednesday:
• The 2015 spring sports season will be a week shorter.
The board approved a proposal to shift state and regional tournaments throughout the state to a week earlier than originally planned in an effort to avoid conducting state-championship events in the Las Vegas area during the Memorial Day weekend.
The end result will be regular seasons that are one week shorter. The first day of practice for spring sports will remain Feb. 28.
“It’s a one-year thing that just needs to be done,” Nelson said. “It’s to help save schools, parents and everybody some financial resources with regards to travel costs and hotel rooms.”
• The Southern Nevada Rubric committee presented its final findings to the board and confirmed that three Las Vegas-area schools are eligible to move down to the Division I-A level, effective for the 2014-15 academic year.
Del Sol will move to the I-A Sunrise League, while Spring Valley and Sierra Vista will shift to the I-A Sunset League. Division I-A South will have 16 schools, split into two eight-team leagues.
• Game officials in all NIAA-sanctioned sports will receive a 4 percent increase in pay, beginning with the upcoming fall season.
• The NIAA will bring back a proposal at its next meeting to require participants in individual sports such as swimming, cross country and track to participate in at least half of their team’s scheduled regular-season contests to be eligible for postseason competition.
The NIAA Board of Control will next meet Oct. 1-2 in Reno.
• White Pine will move to Division III South in all sports except boys and girls soccer, beginning this fall.