Radical reclassification? Delayed on Monday by GHSA

Macon — The Georgia High School Association finally found a way to satisfy the majority on the controversial issue of reclassification at Monday’s meeting.

They decided to delay a vote for another month or two.

The chairman of the Reclassification Committee, Earl Etheridge, read a few sentences about the “4/8 plan” which had been narrowly approved for proposal the day before. Another GHSA member motioned to table or delay the vote and it was quickly approved by the 50-person Executive Committee.

“I think, among the 50 members, there were some people who liked the ‘4/8 plan,’ there were some people that didn’t like it, and there were some people who didn’t know enough to vote wisely,” said Ralph Swearngin, the GSHA’s Executive Director.

Ironically, delaying the vote on the “4/8 plan” was a minor victory for supporters of the radical plan, which consists of reducing the state’s five classifications to four, and then have two state championships per class for each sport. If the “4/8 plan” would’ve gone to vote on Monday, it would’ve likely been denied because of a lack of information and details.

“I think with the limited amount of knowledge that some people had about it, tabling was the best thing to do,” Etheridge said. “We’ve got to do a better job of educating people about it.

“We’ve got to sit down and talk to people that live in the North part of the state as well as the South and put together something that both of us can live with. If the ‘4/8 plan’ is not possible, then let’s go to something that is better for everybody.”

What’s next? The Reclassification Committee will have discussions and then send packets of detailed information to all the of the state’s region representatives. It will likely be voted upon in a special GHSA meeting in late April or May that has yet to be scheduled.

57 comments Add your comment

JM

March 21st, 2011
3:49 pm

probably a smart move. there’s still too many unanswered questions about this proposal.

whatajoke

March 21st, 2011
3:54 pm

What they need to do is get the elders off of the committee and appoint some younger guys with new ideas….

MIKE

March 21st, 2011
3:57 pm

open enrollment city schools need to play in the highest classification. Private schools should play in GISA or be moved up a class.

Cat

March 21st, 2011
4:10 pm

The state needs to go to six classifications, and change playoffs back to the way they were in the 80’s, with a North and South Georgia Champion that would meet for a State Championship. Public city schools that do not charge tuition should be subject to the same multiplier that private schools are subject to. Also, limiting the number of teams that make the playoffs in non-revenue sports would help as well.

barneyb

March 21st, 2011
4:13 pm

While there are still some concerns about portions of the proposal, there is one thing that makes perfect sense:

By going from 5 to 4 classifications, schools have the opportunity to play “sister” schools that they can’t under 4A (like Pope can’t play Lassiter or Walton anymore). Heck, they are in each other’s backyards! The kids have friends that attend each school, and they can’t play each other anymore. And most importantly, why should, say for instance, Pope have to travel to schools like Villa Rica and schools in Paulding County(and vice versa?). The price of fuel is breaking these programs to travel! Common sense needs to prevail, particularly in these tough times.

dobearsbare

March 21st, 2011
4:17 pm

Cat, the private schools are no longer subject to a multiplier.

Ralph S from the Big Office in Griffin

March 21st, 2011
4:32 pm

This has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard of! Two state Champions in each classification? I can already hear the cries about which team is better and letting them prove it on the field. And enough about the multiplier – win it on the field not by rigging the system to penalize smaller schools (yes I mean the private schools!).

Ralph S

guwinster

March 21st, 2011
4:47 pm

They need to go ahead and draw up what the regions would look like under the 4/8 plan before they vote on it. That way the schools can see if this plan would really benefit them or not.

bill

March 21st, 2011
5:29 pm

Open enrollment public schools recruit athletes from other area schools, so they should play in the highest classification. Buford winning the state championship in football for most of the last 10 years under multiple coaches is great, but their athletes come from very far away from Buford in many cases. They are a terrific program, but is it really the point of high school athletics to have them beat a team 53 to 13 in the state championship game? To go undefeated year after year? It would be great to move them up from AA to AAAAA and let them battle other teams that recruit too.

ATLien052

March 21st, 2011
5:33 pm

Grew up in GA and now live in Texas, and TX has 2 state champions in each classification. This type of system can work…just depends on how they divide the classification.

The way Texas works it, is that 4 teams from each district (or Region) make the playoffs. The two schools with the highest enrollment go into the “big” school division and the two schools with the lowest enrollment go into the “small” school division. With 8 regions in GA, this would limiit the number of playoff teams in each division (big school/small school) to 16, which eliminates the need for a playoff game. Theoretcially, the big/small school division winners could meet in a final game to determine the ultimate champion.

This system works, but is not perfect. There is still the problem of enrollment numbers. Some Regions might have 4 playoff teams that have bigger enrollment than any of the playoff teams in another region, so there is a possiblity that the enrollment numbers might not be as equlalized as the GHSAA wants. Also, there is a possiblity of more travel even though there is less total games. As the earlier post mentioned about Pope, Pope HS or any other playoff team might have to travel a greater distance to meet up with another big/small school. The worst thing to me, though, is that it nullifies the seedings. Say my school is the #1 seed out of my region, but we are forced to go into the small school division because of enrollment numbers…it is possible that the small school division will have a disproportionate number of #1 seeds from other regions. What is the benefit of being a #1 seed if we have to face another #1 or a #2 seed in the playoffs the first round because enrollment numbers forced us the same division?

There is no easy answer. The money (both costs and revenues) is such that there cannot be a solution that satisfies everyone. I would caution the committee to seriously consider all the ramifications before changing anything.

bullochdog

March 21st, 2011
5:37 pm

Private schools should be moved out of the GHSA as soon as possible. Let these priveleged so and sos create their own league.

SUPER STUD

March 21st, 2011
5:56 pm

MIKE and BILL:
BOTH OF YOU ARE RIGHT ON THE MONEY…LET’S CUT THIS RECRUITING OUT ONCE AND FOR ALL….MOVE THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND CITY SCHOOLS TO THE GISA AND OUT OF THE GHSA…ALL WILL TELL YOU THEY DON’T RECRUIT, AND ALL OF THEM LIE….

joe in tucker

March 21st, 2011
5:56 pm

Another example of a dysfunctional Government entity! This has got to be one of the most stupid ideas I’ve ever heard of!!!

SUPER STUD

March 21st, 2011
5:58 pm

Ralph S from the Big Office in Griffin :
USE THE MULTIPLIER ON THE CITY SCHOOLS AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS…LET THEM ALL PLAY IN AAAAA OR LET THEM PLAY EACH OTHER….

observer

March 21st, 2011
6:04 pm

Having some 20 + years experience in h.s. softball, the past season was not satisfactoy because of the need to travel 75-1oo miles to play a game beginning @6:00 pm. This means the visiting team often does not get home until 10:00 pm or later. This can’t be satisfactory on school nights.

Anonymous Teacher

March 21st, 2011
6:15 pm

Ralph S. . . . you do know that the big office is in Thomaston and not in Griffin, right?

HS Reporter

March 21st, 2011
6:17 pm

been covering HS sports since 91- a Very DUMB idea this proposal. They should worry more about the rampant recruiting (Milton, Norcross) than about how many classifications they have.

Dr. Charles Goodwin

March 21st, 2011
6:53 pm

No wonder Neal Boortz talks about “government schools” being so “out of step with reality.” This is a perfect example. Leave well enough alone!
Charles

larry

March 21st, 2011
6:55 pm

Put all private schools in one region. Set boundaries of the “city limits” for these city schools, so they can’t recruit athletes from the surrounding counties. If a student wants to attend a city school out of his district, he should not be allowed to participate in athletics.

BehindEnemyLines

March 21st, 2011
7:18 pm

As soon as private school parents are relieved of the burden of having to throw their money down the increasingly dry hole of public “education”, then the complaints might have at least the slightest bit of merit. Until then, it’s just pathetic whining.

south ga. possum

March 21st, 2011
7:42 pm

Ralph S. and the other GHSA officials are turning their backs on this recruting issue. They know it’s happening ..just don’t want to deal with it. What they need to do is cut ties and allegiance with some of these elite coaches and DO THEIR JOBS. Something needs to be done before high school sports is all screwed up and fans lose interest and support dwindels. GHSA officials know abouts the problems and continue to dodge them.

Active in Cherokee

March 21st, 2011
8:31 pm

I don’t know if the 4/8 plan is the answer because I simply haven’t read enough about the details. However, I applaud the GHSA for looking at creative ways to save schools money. Most of the sports (all except football and basketball in most schools) cost the schools thousands of dollars and due to regulations must remain as an option for the students. Just the travel expenses alone for the games in the newly shuffled regions can add up. If the 4/8 can be shown to save the schools money, I believe it is something that has to be taken seriously. Props for tabling the vote so more information can be gathered.

Soccer MOM in South GA

March 21st, 2011
8:45 pm

The number of miles traveled by some south GA schools who go deep into the finals in AA has to stop. Other options exist, how about neutral sites midway for all games over a specified mile limit. State championships can not stay in Atlanta, move them to Columbus and Macon. The Dome is nice, but does GHSA really believe we do not know its all about the Money and no the kids.
Parents need to send comments to the Board

Bitter green-peace

March 21st, 2011
8:48 pm

lower alabamma (LA) ——4/8 rule???? “O” 4 bamma necks killing 8 130 year old oak trees

————————————-got it—-thanks

Jay

March 21st, 2011
9:22 pm

Okay you possums….Football, Basketball and Track are the only sports allowed to play in regions coordinated by counties and zones.The larger schools play in Class I, next Class II, next Class III and final the smallest Class IV

The rest of the sports should play in “local” district games much like the current regions no matter size of school population. That keeps the local rivalries alive and kicking. Using 4 classes as well.

Screw the thoughts of not enough girls not getting to compete in the top three. Two sports are more than enough.

Jay

March 21st, 2011
9:34 pm

Okay after a little thought let’s follow the modified Texas model. Only Football and Basketball play in the region format, Classes I – IV and the rest play in districts of closer opponents. Champions of football and basketball have a North/South Champion playing for the title. The rest play for a consolidated championship in each of the 4 classes.

As for recruiting in basketball don’t allow more than two AAU teammates to play on the same team. For the rest require sit outs if the kid leaves in the middle of the semester. Parent moving PROVE IT and SIGN AN AFFIDAVIT. Visit the “new” job. LOL

Ralph S from the Big Office in Griffin

March 21st, 2011
9:40 pm

Thomaston???? Holy crap when did that happen? No wonder this system is so messed up.

The Truth Teller

March 21st, 2011
9:47 pm

THE GHSA is not listening. All of the county schools should band together and start their own legit athletic association. Who appointed GHSA as God? The GHSA needs the schools, not the other way around. It is past time for the county schools to band together and take a stand

jmcathome

March 21st, 2011
10:10 pm

Why do so many public school folks think that the public school kids are inferior to private school kids. Like when murphy said that public school kids were only equal to one half of private school kids. Schools need to play by size of school perios. This comes from a public school coach of thirty years. Public school students are not inferior as so many of hteir supporters feel

chatham cty

March 21st, 2011
10:13 pm

yall do know that GHSA is a private orginazation not a government or taxpayer funded orginazation. That being said I think that the lowest private schools should be able to play is single A

chatham cty

March 21st, 2011
10:14 pm

excuse meant the lowest should be double A

Gordy

March 21st, 2011
10:34 pm

@jimcathome…………nobody said the public school kids were inferior to private school kids. What Tom Murphy proposed and pushed through was a 1.5 multiplier to “level” the playing field……no pun intended. Public schools have to pick teams and play with the kids that come through the doors – they have no choice. Private schools can and do recruit, and they can and do have a say in who darkens their doorways each and every day.

Quite frankly, many of the city systems in this state are operating as a public school but getting the perks of being private in terms of selecting who can/does attend. How does a certain school that is constantly in the hunt for state titles stay in AA, even though it is a well known fact that because they operate without any district lines, kids come from all over to attend school there? Wouldn’t it stand to reason that at some point the enrollment would increase enough to bump said school up to a higher classification? Unless of course, the FTE numbers of this school are kept at a certain level by “screening” those that want to attend? Sounds like a private school, doesn’t it?

Just speculation on my part. Your mileage may vary.

Duck Tape and Glue

March 21st, 2011
11:37 pm

All you guys clamoring to get private schools out of GHSA should know this. Most private schools carry their regions with regards to organization, facilities (like pools), etc. You lump them all together and it makes their job easier. Lumping all private schools into GISA will never happen because you keep voting for dudes that play politics with immigration reform and other populist issues but don’t actually do anything to send anybody back to Mexico because they know their buddies can’t turn a profit without illegals. Meanwhile they send their kids to private school and talk a big game about how their son threw for 260 yards against some Hispanic school whose students could care less about football. At the same time they are cutting public school funding and creating more vouchers to take away the local public school’s best athlete so he can play running back on scholarship at their son’s private school.

These are the politicians that forced the GHSA to get rid of the Murphy rule a few years back. But you’ll vote for them anyway like a bunch of lemmings.

longtimedawgfan

March 21st, 2011
11:58 pm

Gordy, at the least, knows his facts….admire him for taking up for the truth…unfortunately, the private school recruiting problem will never go away….too much financial clout and too much influence…and he’s right when he said it’s bleeding over into public schools….the result of not taking a hard stand by the GHSA…

cat doc

March 22nd, 2011
5:30 am

Get those private schools out, let them play within the other private schools

bill

March 22nd, 2011
10:52 am

We have to stop the recruiting. Public and private schools both do it. Everyone knows the schools that do it in football (mostly public) and basketball (a number of private and public schools). This stuff just has to stop. It makes the 4 to 5 schools dominate the leagues every year, but more importantly it sends a message to young athletic kids which de-emphasizes academics over athletics. Over 99% of these kids are not going to earn a living playing sports, so they need to read and study math, not make AAU and coaches happy by spending their time working out (and transferring from school to school). If you get into a great college on an athletic scholarship but you are not EXCELLING at academics, you are going to ‘graduate’ and then find yourself driving a cab, or becoming a security guard, and ending up struggling financially your entire life. The end isn’t just getting into college. Thats just the beginning.

WarEagle

March 22nd, 2011
11:17 am

There is far less “recruiting” at the high school level than the complainers claim, and most of it is done by public, not private, schools in my judgment. The “hardship” standard for moving from one public school to another is a joke — check out Redan’s baseball roster this year, for example. There may be an issue at Class A because there are so many good private schools to choose among and better athletes who have the choice may be self-selecting into those private schools for swimming, golf, tennis and other sports where family wealth helps through better training. At the AAA, AAAA, and AAAAA levels (and maybe even AA), the major sports all seem competitive to me.

BC

March 22nd, 2011
11:29 am

If a school selects it’s students by application and intentionally holds their attendance level so they can stay in a certain classification and they have other schools within their district/county, then they should be placed in a classification that equals the highest ranked class school in their district/county. By doing this, schools that do this couldn’t load their programs with allstars just to win championships. Has it has been discussed on the GAVSA vent over and over, a district/county with 18,000 in population has no business playing a school in a district/county with 800,000 in population.

A Conservative Voice

March 22nd, 2011
1:40 pm

The GHSA has been a great organization in Georgia High School Athletics since, I guess the twenties or thirties. They did a great thing in 1948 by organizing the schools into classes to compete for one state championship in each class; however, they have become an organization run by a group of old men who have a hard time making decisions and who let political pressure dictate their decision making. This organization needs to man up and end recruiting by private schools and Buford; however, I don’t see that happening until the Athletic Directors at schools affected by private school and Buford recruiting step up and say……”hold on, GHSA, something’s gotta change, either stop the recruiting or we’re gonna stop playing those teams we know are recruiting”. Someone has to force the issue or we’ll still be talking about this ten years hence.

longtimedawgfan

March 22nd, 2011
2:30 pm

wake up “conservative voice”….ain’t gonna happen….at least until someone else with courage makes them do it again….the private schools have too much money and clout….

WarEagle

March 22nd, 2011
3:15 pm

Please provide some actual examples of “recruiting by private schools”

Bob

March 22nd, 2011
3:25 pm

It starts by naming the schools that recruit:

Public Schools: Buford, Calhoun, Norcross, Wheeler, Brookwood, Carrolton, Milton.
Private Schools: Greater Atlanta Christian, Wesleyan, Marist

These schools might not be the only schools that recruit, but they recruit BETTER than the other schools. They dominate high school athletics, and its just not the purpose of high school athletics to have a small group of schools dominate.

WarEagle

March 22nd, 2011
4:12 pm

Success does not necessarily mean recruiting, and it certainly is not the purpose of high school athletics to single out and punish successful programs just because they are successful — this is not 2nd grade soccer where everyone gets a trophy just for trying (at least not yet). Naming schools without giving real examples of recruiting just continues to feed rumor and innuendo without facts. I can’t comment on other schools, but I can comment on Marist. About 60-65% of the students at Marist start there in 7th grade, and the high school teams ultimately are filled with many of those students. Are people making the implausible charge that Marist is recruting 6th grade “athletes”? Almost all the rest of the students join in 9th grade, with a few joining later. I am not aware of any athlete who starred at Marist who joined after 10th grade — are you? I know Marist has had great success in sports — maybe families who want academic and athletic success at a Catholic school have chosen to have their kids attend the school. Yes, Marist benefits from being able to take kids from all over metro-Atlanta, but that does not mean it recruits athletes to succeed in sports — jeez, look at the football team’s size and speed and tell me honestly if you think Marist is stealing the best from around the city! (Marist plays up two classes, so the benefit from drawing from a broader population is mitigated.) Anyway, kids transfer from one public school to another easily now, so this is hardly unique to Marist. But it is not recruiting.

Jim

March 22nd, 2011
4:28 pm

@War Eagle several years back someone within the athletic department at The Lovett School had a parent approach me and other parents about taking a “trip” to the school to check it out. I declined. One parent didn’t. The kid enrolled later. A year or so later, a “scout” from Woodward Academy offered scholarships to three kids playing 14U football. They were told just take the test. Neither of them followed through. Recruiting by private school happen everyday.

It does happen at public schools too. Ask Sandy Creek, Alpharetta and Milton.

Jim

March 22nd, 2011
4:32 pm

@War Eagle Marist like the other private schools are bright enough to recruit the kids earlier so it doesn’t look like recruiting. Public School wait until the kid is making an impact at one school then they talk a parent into thinking the grass is greener on their field. Whoa and behold the ignorant sluts fall for it. Seen it happen two times this year. Another was shopped to a winning program.

WarEagle

March 22nd, 2011
4:43 pm

@Jim: I can assure you that Marist does not have “scouts” watching the 14U teams around metro-Atlanta hoping to find the next D-I players!

John In Jacksonville

March 22nd, 2011
6:53 pm

I’m glad the GHSA did not just kill the idea of innovating a better system that helps the state preserve athletics. Delay is fine, and let people get more information and get used to the idea of change, we don’t always handle change well, do we? We built the system when gas was cheap and nobody was building 3,000 student high schools, so the system needs updating. I cannot comment on recruiting, as far as I can tell the proposed changes are not designed to address public-private or recruiting issues – they’re about school size and travel cost.
To the AJC staff: please stop using the word “radical” to describe the proposed plan. That makes it sound crazy or unstable, and when is trying to adapt sports to new realities “radical”? The “radical” thing to do would be to do nothing, stick our heads in the sand, and lay off more teachers until there’s nobody left to turn out the lights except the football coach. Why don’t you get out your thesaurus and find a better word for a system that’s already in common use in several other Southern states? Try “innovative” or “focused on fairness and economy.”

Daniel in Thomasville

March 23rd, 2011
12:52 am

Be careful what you wish for, because if you applied the 1.5 multiplier to a lot of rural schools (Thomasville, Cairo, Pelham, Mitchell-Baker, Albany, Monroe, and others) you would have them playing well above their heads. What would be better is if a kid does not live in the school district with a parent then they can’t go to that school & start penalizing schools that recruit with fines and forfitures & if they continue, GHSA may have to consider shutting down the sport that a school keeps recruiting in; that is the only way to stop it!!!

A Conservative Voice

March 23rd, 2011
12:30 pm

@WarEagle

March 22nd, 2011
3:15 pm
Please provide some actual examples of “recruiting by private schools”

It’s devious the way it’s done. Most private schools give financial aid to deserving non-athletic students (those that don’t participate in athletics); however, they also give financial aid to student athletes……this is the way they get around the “recruiting” thing……”were not recruiting, we’re only giving financial aid to a deserving student who also happens to be an outstanding athlete”. Well, public schools cannot do this, or aren’t allowed to do it; however, some do. If public schools made a practice of giving financial aid (free tuition) to out of district students, this would penalize the tax paying citizens of the district. A very celebrated case was the now UGA running back thing of a few years ago with the Norcross school being the “Private School” he wound up playing for. This has created a very unlevel playing field…..there’s no way most public schools can compete with a private school that’s allowed to “give financial aid/recruit” and is the reason you see the same schools competing for championships year after year.

Coach O

March 23rd, 2011
5:09 pm

Nearly 30 issues, ranging from outright rule changes to word clarifications of bylaws, have been put on the calendar for discussion by the GHSA’s various subcommittees on Sunday, the day before the bigger meeting.

GHSA officials estimated that 50 percent or less of the issues will make it to Monday’s vote. Here are some of more intriguing topics….

Yet you only talk about the reclassification. Sure it’s a big issue and concerns every school, coach, player, and fan. But this is what is wrong with the AJC coverage: You brought up the agenda, mentioned all these changes and listed a few, so where is the coverage on what you pointed out??? No wonder GHSA is viewed as some “good ol’ boy” committee with blinders. Cover more or give us links to the results of the voting!