Truckee move to 4A soccer rejected by NIAA
For now, the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at Truckee High School will be competing in the Northern 3A at least another season.
The Nevada Interscholastic Athletics Association shot down a proposal by Truckee to move from the Northern 3A to the Northern 4A in soccer only at a recent board meeting in early December.
“There were many board members adamantly against any sports being leased, where schools form their own leagues in effect,” said Chuck Hildebrand, the owner and operator of NevadaPrep.com, a local source for NIAA information. “The board does not want leagues to be dramatically different from sport to sport.”
Truckee, which has won eight boys’ and girls’ state titles since the 3A classification was created in 1995, seeks better competition, combined with less emphasis on decreased travel time.
The NIAA could face a storm of similar requests because of an earlier decision in September that allowed Yerington High School to switch from Northern 3A to the Northern 2A in football only.
“They kind of opened the barn door, and now all the animals are restless,” said Bob Shaffer, the Truckee athletics director.
Shaffer represented Truckee in the December meeting and went into the meeting fairly confident that membership in 4A soccer would be approved, based on advice he had received by the NIAA itself. A representative of the NIAA had told Shaffer and Truckee Principal Mike Finney that approval from 4A officials would not be necessary.
“We did what we were directed to do, and no questions were asked at the meeting,” Finney said.
But when the votes were tallied, the board said otherwise. Shaffer was mildly shocked at the announcement.
“We already had the approval of the 3A, and I was told the only time we had to get approval is if we were moving down a conference, not up,” Shaffer said. “But I’ve seen the board shoot down things in the past that I had thought for sure were going to pass.”
Hildebrand said that some board members were surprised at how Truckee presented its proposal, prompting them to vote against the transfer. He also said that he was surprised that North Tahoe, one of the only serious competitors to Truckee in Northern 3A, was not involved.
Truckee can still resubmit its proposal in a March board meeting, which gives Truckee time to take the necessary measures.
“It’s in the crawling stages right now, but we’ll have a better shot in March,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer said that Truckee’s only serious competition in soccer is Incline and North Tahoe. The only strategy against other opponents has been to find creative ways to keep the score from getting considerably out of hand, he said.
“The coaches would do things like make the players pass it 12 times before they took a shot on goal,” Shaffer said. “Besides playing those two teams, our players actually take a step back when we play other teams. It hinders their development.”
Shaffer added that a move to 4A would mean more road games in Reno, naturally decreasing travel time. That would also mean players would not miss as much time in the classroom.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.