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High school realignment: Leagues will look different in 2013-14

12:00 AM, Jan. 15, 2013 EST

Photos from the Truckee Wolverines at Fallon Greenwave football game played on Friday night, October 19, 2012 at Churchill County High School in Fallon, Nevada. / Tom Smedes/Special to RGJ

The pod system utilized in the North the past three years in Division I-A and Division III was scrapped Monday by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association board of control.

The pod elimination goes into effect next school year, the board voted by an 8-0 margin during its winter meeting at the Sparks Holiday Inn.

"The pod system is not feasible anymore," Fernley athletic administrator Jeff Knutson told the board.

Div. I-A and Div. III schools in the North were unanimous in their desire to eliminate the pods, but it took more than an hour of discussion before the board voted.

In the pod system that was implemented in 2010, schools from the two classifications (3A and 2A at the time) were placed in the same leagues -- Mount Rose, Lahontan or Ruby Mountain -- based on geography. The schools then broke out into their appropriate postseason tournaments.

The pods were created in hopes of reducing travel expenses for many rural schools. In the Lahontan League, however, some schools experienced an increase in costs while the discrepancy in enrollment between schools from the different Divisions created many mismatches.

"We bought into it for the good of the state and for other schools," White Pine principal Adam Young said, "but it's time for it to end."

The pod system was not used in football.

"We haven't seen our kids in class any more and haven't saved any more money in travel," said Paul Allen, Spring Creek athletic administrator.

"The travel has been exactly the same," Battle Mountain athletic director Paul Tremayne said. "The money saved has been basically zero."

What also played a role in the board's discussion was a request by White Pine and West Wendover -- both members of the Ruby Mountain league -- to move to the Div. III South with the elimination of the pods.

"We feel strongly that our rightful placement is in the Div. III South," Young told the board.

Young and representatives from West Wendover spoke of travel and history -- the schools were in the South for two decades prior to three years ago. They also said placement in the South would save on travel costs.

"It would affect us drastically," board member Ray Mathis said, referring to the Clark County School District. "We would have to take charter buses to league games."

White Pine still competes in the South in football but Southern schools voted unanimously against White Pine and West Wendover rejoining their league in other sports, said Bill Darrow, Div. III South president and Needles athletic administrator.

"We welcome them," said Russell Fecht, Div. III North president and Pershing County principal. "We understand the travel involved and we welcome them as member of our league."

The board elected not to vote on the request of White Pine and West Wendover. It instead said realignment requests will be considered next year for implementation in 2014-15.

The two schools, though, could be long-term North schools after the board approved Whittell's move down to Div. IV and North Tahoe's independent status in football for three years. Those two moves leave the Div. III North with eight teams in football, nine teams in all other boys sports and eight teams in all girls sports.

Whittell met the Div. IV criteria of fewer than 169 students for two consecutive years. The Warriors started this school year with 146 students and now are at 143, athletic administrator Kathy Bluethman said.




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