Dayton High School will be without a football team this season.
A low turnout for the program forced the Dust Devils to drop all levels of football, marking the first year the school will be without a team since it opened its doors.
After deciding to become an independent member of 3A last year, Dayton Athletic Director David Palmer stated the decision came as the school tried to reconstruct the program.
“It was a question of numbers with our kids participating. We had gone through a restructuring of the program last year where we made some pretty significant changes in the coaching staff and with our status in the league,” said Palmer. “We went to an independent status last year and as a result of that we were hoping this year that we would be able to get in and rebuild the program into a positive reboot of what we had going. Unfortunately, this fall we didn’t get out the number of students we were hoping to get out, which has kind of spiraled into us really not being in a position where we are not able to field a team.”
With the decision, Dayton High School and the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association have been working to assist student-athletes in transferring to continue playing football.
NIAA Assistant Director Donnie Nelson added student-athletes who transfer must fully enroll at the school to become immediately eligible to play athletics.
“If a student athlete were to leave Dayton they would have to enroll in that school completely,” said Nelson. “They have to become a full-time student at the other school. They do have to apply for that.”
Palmer admitted a few seniors are looking to transfer to Carson High School.
“We’ve been working with the NIAA in the past week or two to be able to go through and figure out transfer options for some of our senior students, who will be looking to go to Carson High School and participate in their program. Right now, we currently are in a situation where I am aware of four students that will be transferring over to the Carson program and be able to play this season,” Palmer said.
In 2018, the NIAA denied a Dayton request to drop from 3A to 2A. The Dust Devil football program had posted a 1-39 record since 2015.
The next step for the Dust Devils and Palmer is to try to figure out how to increase turnout for athletics in the future, including football.
Palmer said that he is “hopeful” the program is able to return in the fall 2020.
“We’re going to do some questioning with our student athletes to figure out kind of what precipitated the situation we are in right now,” said Palmer. “Using that information, go through and make the changes we need to make to get kids out for next season so that we can rebuild the program.”