That won't happen.
Reed athletic officials learned late Monday morning that the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, the state's governing body for high school sports, had decided to change the host site for Saturday's DI state semifinal between Reed and Liberty High of Henderson. The game had originally been scheduled to be hosted by the North champion, but that changed when the NIAA announced mid-day Monday that Bishop Manogue will host the playoff game.
The NIAA released a memo to the media and involved schools following its decision. It read: "Mr. Eddie Bonine, Executive Director of the NIAA, along with four Washoe County School District personnel, toured/did a site visit of the Reed High School football field this morning and determined the field’s condition is not safe and/or suitable for a post-season game (Division I state semifinal) of this magnitude."
Reed's football field and track facility has come under scrutiny in the past year for its substandard conditions, specifically an uneven surface and poor grass growth. However, Reed played football games as well as boys and girls soccer matches on its field throughout the fall sports season. Additionally, the NIAA hosted first and second-round regional playoff games at Reed Nov. 8 and Nov. 15 without calling for a venue change.
Brian Rothe, the Washoe County School District's coordinator of athletics, did not criticize the NIAA's decision but said he, as well as other district staff, have inspected the facility in the past.
"I think Reed, and (athletic director) Ron (Coombs) in particular, have done yeoman's work. They've done a great job to make the field playable. Now, has it always been aesthetically pleasing, maybe not, but that doesn't mean it's unsafe or unplayable."
The NIAA's web site as late as Sunday night listed the North Region champion school as the host site for Saturday's state semifinal before it was changed Monday morning.
Coombs did not hide his frustration Monday. Not only did he disagree with the NIAA's decision to move the game away from Reed, but he was seething over the process that brought on the change. The veteran RHS athletic director said he didn't even receive a phone call from the NIAA informing him of the change.
"I found out after getting an automatically generated email from arbiter, the web site that handles the officiating schedule," Coombs said.
Just after 1 p.m. Monday, Coombs learned of the NIAA's visit to Reed earlier that morning. He added that no Reed officials were invited to the site visit.
"Nothing seems right about the way this was handled," Coombs said. "To be honest, I'm still stunned … I'm angry the game was moved, but I'm more angry about the way it was handled.
"I can live with a decision to have a meeting if we're invited and are there to defend our right to host. I think our kids earned that. I wouldn't be happy about the decision to move the game, but I'd feel a lot better about it if I was consulted. At that point, we'd say we gave it our best shot. To have it handled the way it was handled is as unprofessional as you get."
Reed hosted state semifinals in 2009 and 2012 while McQueen hosted a state semifinal in 2010. In the 2011, the North champion advanced directly into the state final and did not play in a state semifinal. Thus, Monday's NIAA decision left officials at Reed frustrated to say the least.
"It's extremely frustrating. Our goal is to get the home-field playoff advantage," Reed coach Ernie Howren said. "When the season started, the North Region champion was set to host the Sunrise Region champion. So that was a goal we set. We earned it and unfortunately, now it's been taken away from us.
"The field was fine to host two home playoff games already this season. Why is it not playable for one more game? That does not make any sense to me."
Officials at the NIAA were unavailable for comment Monday afternoon.
Paperwork shows the NIAA began looking into moving the game as early as last Thursday. That's the day Bonine sent a letter to WCSD officials, including Rothe and Gonzolo Hernandez, the district's Risk Management Manager. The letter asked for an audit of the Reed facility, calling for district leaders to sign off on the field, saying it met safety standards/expectations.
Rothe said he got internal direction from the district not to sign off on the request. Any such document would have left the district with a huge legal burden. When Coombs and Reed principal Mary Vesco were patched into a conference call with NIAA officials Monday, Coombs said he asked if Manogue was asked to sign a similar waiver, guaranteeing the safety of its facility.
"To me, if that's the standard we're asked to adhere to, than that should be the standard used for any site," Coombs said. "I was basically told in not so many words to move on to another subject."
The decision left Coombs, Howren and others wondering about the future of Reed's football field. Should games be played there next year after a state agency ruled the field 'unsafe?'
"It's a huge concern," Howren said. "What's next? It's all speculation at this point, but we have to wonder what we will be told next year if we get to this point or even before this point. The district is going to have to seriously look at what happens to our field now that it's been deemed unsafe."