Tensions over Bishop Gorman’s football dominance came to a head at a meeting Monday where rival high school coaches unveiled a plan that would all but end the Gaels’ presence on the national stage.
A proposal to realign Nevada high school football that would limit the Gaels to one out-of-state game per season would be a “step backwards” for the state, Bishop Gorman’s athletic director Grant Rice said Monday in response to the plan .
At the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association realignment committee meeting, Rice was brought into the virtual discussion after public comment raised concerns about a proposal that would make Class 5A South a one-division, 10-team league.
Under the proposal, 5A South teams would play nine league games and have the option to play one non-league game. Rice said he understands some coaches’ concerns about the recent competitive imbalance, but he said the proposal was “bad for all of Nevada” and “sets Nevada back quite a bit.”
Last season, Bishop Gorman outscored his opponents 574-23 in nine in-state games. The Gaels have won the last two state soccer championships and 12 of 13 in the top flight.
“So that in 2023 we’re going to take a step back and recruit our kids, all of Nevada, not just Bishop Gorman students where they can’t play in other states, from other colleges, be seen at any kind of west coast or national level, I think it’s a complete step backwards for Nevada,” Rice said at the meeting.
During a public comment, Liberty football coach and Southern Nevada Football Coaches Association president Rich Muraco said a survey on the plan was sent to 30 SNFCA coaches. He said the proposal was backed by 25 coaches. Muraco added that nine of the 10 schools in the proposed realigned 5A South support the plan.
“The Southern Nevada Football Coaches Association vote is 9-1 in favor of this proposal, with the one school not wanting it being Bishop Gorman,” Muraco said during a public comment. “CCSD school directors support the 9-0 proposal.
Kevin McPartlin, the southern representative on the realignment committee, said the proposal would be favored by school leaders in both 5A and 4A classifications.
“We truly believe that if you decide not to proceed with this proposal, you are sending a very loud and clear message that the wants and needs of CCSD schools are not being met,” Muraco told the committee. “And that you will consider the needs and wants of one school, namely Bishop Gorman.”
Bishop Gorman, Liberty, Silverado, Arbor View, Desert Pines, Shadow Ridge, Coronado, Las Vegas High, Green Valley, and Foothill would make up 5A South. Proposition two noted that if Faith Lutheran chose to appeal up to 5A, Foothill would drop to 4A.
Also included in the proposal, which will be put to a vote at Monday’s NIAA realignment committee meeting, was a playoff format in which the South’s top four schools would play in an Open Division championship. The remaining six schools would play for a 5A state championship against schools from the 5A North.
If the proposal is approved at next week’s realignment meeting, it will go to the NIAA Board of Review, which will make the final decision.
Another proposal mirrors the structure of California high school football and would introduce promotion and relegation between divisions. The 5A South would have three divisions – Division, I, II, and III – with seven schools in each division.
Under this proposal, Bishop Gorman, Liberty, Arbor View, Silverado, Desert Pines, Shadow Ridge, and Coronado would be in 5A Division I South. No northern schools would be in 5A Division I.
All seven teams would play for a 5A Division I state title and the bottom two teams would be relegated to the 5A Division II South for the next season. The top two teams from 5A Division II South would then be promoted to Division I.
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