The Georgia High School Association conceded Thursday that it can’t solve Class A’s problems in a day, so the reclassification committee tabled any vote on reorganization until public- and private-school representatives can meet and haggle further with the GHSA staff and executive director Robin Hines.
Ten Class A private schools have pulled out of the GHSA this month to join another association, leaving the Class A Private division with only about 25 football-playing schools slated for the 2022 season. There are 37 currently in Class A Private. Three others with Class A enrollment have elected to compete in Class 4A beginning next year.
The concern is that 25 football teams won’t be enough for a meaningful championship. Other sports might also be left short-handed.
So on Thursday at the GHSA’s offices in Thomaston, reclass committee members Steven Craft and Jasper Jewell proposed reorganizing Class A into divisions with larger and smaller schools instead of public and private schools beginning in 2022-23. That plan might result in more than 40 football-playing schools in each class but at the expense – public schools would say – of having Class A public and private schools playing for the same championships again.
Many smaller public schools threatened to pull out of the GHSA in 2011 until they got their way starting in 2012-13, which was having separate public and private championships.
Another reclass member, Jesse Crews of public school Charlton County, proposed going back to the 2012-20 setup in which Class A public and private schools competed together in eight regions, playing each other in the regular season, but separating for the state championships, ensuring public and private champions.
Davis Russell, a reclass member from Bremen, suggested that the GHSA remove its Class A exemption on the out-of-zone enrollment multiplier, allowing Class A schools to be moved into higher classes. Some objected, saying this would entail re-doing several classes and not just Class A since a multiplier would push several schools into 3A and 2A.
And it’s no secret that schools in classes 3A and 2A oppose taking on private schools. Only one, Aquinas, is currently slotted for one of those classes in 2022-23.
The “spirited discussion,” as described in the meeting’s minutes, came to a close with no decision, which was not unexpected.
Lakeview Academy of Gainesville, a GHSA member since 1972, on Wednesday had become the 10th GHSA Class A school to announce it was leaving for the Georgia Independent School Association. More could follow.
Others officially leaving are St. Anne-Pacelli of Columbus, Heritage of Newnan, George Walton Academy of Monroe, Strong Rock Christian of Locust Grove, Deerfield-Windsor of Albany and Macon schools Mount de Sales, First Presbyterian, Stratford Academy and Tattnall Square.
Several have cited a new GHSA rule that makes transfer students ineligible at private schools for one year unless they move into the public school district in which the private school resides.
In other business, 13 schools won appeal to move to new regions within the same classification for 2022-23.
Class 7: Discovery from 8 to 7; Osborne from 2 to 5
Class 5: Villa Rica from 7 to 5
Class 4A: Hapeville Charter from 4 to 6; Seckinger from 6 to 8
Class 3A: Oconee County from 8 to 7; Gilmer from 7 to 6; Pickens from 7 to 6; Liberty County from 3 to 4
Class 2A: Fannin County from 8 to 7; Oglethorpe County from 8 to 3; Social Circle from 4 to 8
Class A Public: Warren County from 8 to 7
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