Ralph Swearngin, executive director of the Georgia High School Association, said he usually has a pretty good idea about what’s going to happen before any major proposals are presented to the state’s governing body for high school athletics.
This time, however, Swearngin said he’s not so sure about the hotly debated of reclassification, or how the GHSA’s 422 member schools will be divided for competition.
Three ideas are being strongly considered, and one of them will be proposed for a vote at Monday’s meeting of the GHSA’s executive committee.
It could be the most radical change among the state’s classifications in more than a decade, or it may be a few tweaks to the existing structure. Swearngin doesn’t have a gut instinct one way or the other.
“People are all over the map with reclassification, and there’s no consensus,” he said. “As we swap ideas, there doesn’t seem to be one plan out of the three main ones that everybody is getting behind right now.”
Geographical and population concerns are prompting a change, which would take effect in fall 2012. Here’s a quick look at the three most popular proposals being discussed by the reclassification committee:
Staying at five classifications
The current system would remain intact, with tweaks such as changing the percentage of schools in each classification. Currently, the state’s largest classification (AAAAA) has the fewest schools with 63, while the smallest classification (A) has the most with 109.
Expanding to six classifications
This plan would be like 2000 all over again, when the classifications increased by one, and perhaps most important, would keep in place all existing procedures, such as playoff brackets.
Reducing to four classifications
Under this model, the GHSA would drop to four classifications and have eight state championships. Under one scenario, there would be eight regions of around 100 schools per class. At the start of the playoffs, the largest 50 schools would play for one state championship (such as Class AA, Division I), while the rest compete for another.
The 12 members of the reclassification committee will meet Sunday in Macon to review each plan before determining which one to reveal the next day. They could also decide not to propose anything, but that is highly unlikely.
“I think most people feel like something needs to be done,” Swearngin said. “The question is how radical of a change do we want to make. We’re not going to change just for the sake of change. It has to be able to solve the problems we’re looking at.”
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Reclassification? Wow. Which plan to do you like and why? My favorite is four classifications and eight state championships. It would allow teams to play more neighborhood rivals during the regular season (hopefully generating more revenue), schools closer to the same size in the playoffs, and then a total of eight state championships, as opposed to five (again, hopefully generating more revenue). Now which do you prefer?