GHSA ‘in a mess’ with reclassification, says columnist

Everybody seems to have an opinion on the GHSA’s new reclassification plan. Here are excerpts of a recent column by one of our colleagues, Adam Krohn of the Gainesville Times. (You’ll need to go here to read the full article and then come back and comment). We at the AJC don’t endorse or oppose Mr. Krohn’s views, but we certainly think the reclassification is worth talking about a few more times:

There’s a civil war going on in Georgia, and once again, it’s the North that’s winning — for now …

The six-classification plan earned the 26 votes required for a majority vote thanks to the 17 metro Atlanta schools, which voted 17-0 in favor of the six-class plan. The only reason the six-class vote took place is because [the GHSA attorney Alan Connell] allowed the executive committee to break its own rules, so who set the “dangerous precedent” here?

GHSA executive committee member Jesse Crews says he has a lawyer who will first speak with Connell this week as a courtesy before taking legal recourse. If Crews’ lawyer has even a minimal ability to apply law, he’ll be able to poke holes in Connell’s misinterpretation of the by-law as easily as someone holding a needle to a balloon full of water.

It’s clear that Connell did not look at the by-law objectively. Instead, he tried to make the square peg of a by-law somehow fit in to the circular agenda of one segment of the executive committee. What he should have done was make a motion to amend the current by-law to fit his agenda, and then have the executive committee vote on that. That amendment would likely have been passed, 26-24.

But there was an obvious and unexplained rush to make sure the six-class plan was voted on right then, at that meeting. So Connell chose to compromise the integrity of the organization by allowing it to violate its own constitution.

And so here we are, with a legal situation, and a valid one.

As messy as it already is, the current state of the divided executive committee is only going to get more messy now that it appears it will take a party outside of the GHSA to resolve its in-house issues.

The dysfunction of the GHSA executive committee is prevalent, possibly irreparable and downright embarrassing for the organization. And I don’t see how the sad state of the committee can change any time soon, or without the law stepping in.

What are YOUR thoughts? Please post below.

51 comments Add your comment

Max Sizemore

May 18th, 2011
7:50 am

I’m not sure I understand what rule the executive committee was allowed to break. Either you didn’t reprint the entire column or, like most newspapers these days, the Times needs more editors.

Jeff

May 18th, 2011
7:57 am

Think it’s pretty obvious, Max, that the entire column wasn’t printed. The dead give away should be all them fancy words used to introduce it (i.e. you’ll need to go here to read the full column).

dagrapevine

May 18th, 2011
7:57 am

should have left well enough alone.now you have former 4a schools moved up into 6a.well if those schools are big enough to play 6a why were’nt they in 5a to begin with.

Twj

May 18th, 2011
7:59 am

Maybe there is as issue but you can’t tell from Mr. Krohn’s confusing column. Huh? What’s the point?

Jeff

May 18th, 2011
8:15 am

Twj and Max Sizemore should hang out.

Bobby P.

May 18th, 2011
8:18 am

Read the full article. It’s pretty simple.

CHS

May 18th, 2011
10:35 am

GHSA has always had its (dirty) problems. The Doc seems to have lost control and the North is in charge. Hope Jesse Crews and his lawyer wins this case and makes it fair of all kids and schools.

Max and Twj learn to READ!

John

May 18th, 2011
10:41 am

Read the Georgia Supreme Court’s decisions in Parents Againsr Realignment v. Georgia High School association, 271 Ga. 114 (1999); Georgia High School Association v. Waddell, 248 Ga. 542 (1981), and Smith v. Crim, 249 Ga. 390 (1977). It is unlikely that the courts will intervene in this matter.

rick

May 18th, 2011
10:49 am

John, are you saying the GHSA violated its own constitution, and legally, that’s okay?

Fair Play Fan

May 18th, 2011
10:56 am

You can come-up with any plan you like and it will be attacked.

This is a no win situation regardless of how many challengers are submitted. I critisized a plan I came up with. Personally, I believe the 5-classification system should just be improved upon—nothing else.

Cain

May 18th, 2011
11:01 am

The attorney Connell should be fired. Dr. Swearngin should be fired. Looks like Swearngin help set the deal up by his e-mail and saying the original recommend plan wouldn’t work. In other words Swearngin rules and reclassification committee means nothing.. How much longer is this State going to let GHSA rule and do as it please.

rick

May 18th, 2011
11:03 am

Fair Play Plan, I think the issue here isn’t that the plan doesn’t please everyone, but how the GHSA went about making sure it was passed.

Roscoe Pound

May 18th, 2011
11:05 am

I did read the GHSA Constitution and Bylaws, not just the sections cited, and Mr. Connell’s guidance appears solid.

rick

May 18th, 2011
11:06 am

how so, roscoe?

bj

May 18th, 2011
11:12 am

Lets hear the facts Roscoe if its solid.

Players break the rules what happens?
Schools break the rules what happens?
GHSA breaks the rules and Its OK!
Agree Fire Sweargin.

John

May 18th, 2011
11:53 am

The reclassification plan they adopted was easily the best and faires proposal. What is you problem with it?

Roscoe Pound

May 18th, 2011
12:00 pm

The Bylaws and Constitution are on line. No one broke any rules. if you read the Articles, the Bylaws, paying attention to the power of Trustees, the limited power of Committees, and the specific Bylaw right of any Trustee to raise any issue for vote, even outside the normal rules of order, you may come to the conclusion that this piece was not as well written as it might have been.

rick

May 18th, 2011
12:03 pm

Roscoe, that’s a lot of words in that online document. Which words did you perceive allowed the GHSA to justify what it did. At least the columnist provided specifics.

Roscoe Pound

May 18th, 2011
12:15 pm

Sorry, Rick, I can’t read it for you. And it does take time, page by page, sentence by sentence, word by word.

rick

May 18th, 2011
12:36 pm

roscoe has failed to point out any single point in the constitution to support his argument. and i am not surprised.

SportsFan31313

May 18th, 2011
2:16 pm

I’m in favor of adding the new classifaction, and the preliminary new Region Alignment.

Indian73

May 18th, 2011
2:30 pm

I hope this guy did not earn a degree from an accredited institution in this state. If he did then that accreditation should be revoked. What a bunch of no substance filler he pulled from a thesaurus.

south ga

May 18th, 2011
2:37 pm

I agree mr sweargin should be fired. IT is impossible for small 1a schools to move up to class 2a and expect our kids to compete.Plus THE GHSA has not considered the cost of long trips that we now will encounter with south ga schools.The 5 classes we had before worked,no change is needed!

KD

May 18th, 2011
2:54 pm

Can anyone tell me as to what are the enrollment or average daily attendance numbers for each new classification as to where it puts a school in each class.

Legend of Len Barker

May 18th, 2011
3:20 pm

It’s a dangerous precedent.

At least with the reclassification committee, different interests were considered. Crews, for example, is at Charlton County, a school located in the extreme reaches of the state and one that has never been bigger than AA. Crews understands the plight of: a) south Georgia, b) small public schools, c) remotely-located schools

No wonder that the six classification vote went the way it did (17-9). The nine non-metro schools did feel like the plan represented them.

Atlanta metro, while it does make up the majority of students, shouldn’t be allowed to stranglehold sports. Without picking up a map, how many metro folks know where Miller County is? How many have been on a team bus that left at noon on a weekday for a region road game?

17 metro votes out of 26 are automatically going to benefit metro Atlanta. They’re not going to vote against themselves. Why should they? Connell bypassed the individuals who are in charge of making sure that others’ concerns are considered. This did not. There is a reason the reclassification committee didn’t put a six classification plan out there for the vote.

Six classficiations benefits no one except the mega high schools who want their metro regions smaller. For Savannah, this will mean that their schools will have to consider whether or not they want to play *three or four* classifications up. Their decision will hugely impact Camden. If Camden is alone over there, they may be shifted to 1-AAAAAA where that will give a massive road game to half the football teams each year and every basketball team.

middle state

May 18th, 2011
3:59 pm

Ralph Sweargin should be fired alone with lawyer.

coondog

May 18th, 2011
4:20 pm

The GHSA is run by a duffus who has a duffus Board of Directors supporting him. And it didn’t just start. It is an inbred group perpetuating itself and has been for years and years.

Geoff

May 18th, 2011
4:28 pm

Indian73 – I read a lot of substance in that column and have yet to hear anything of substance from the side that opposes it.

Carroll Dawg

May 18th, 2011
4:29 pm

This really isn’t that hard of a problem to fix. The biggest concern from the majority was the unlevel playing field caused by private schools. So do this-Go to 6 classifications, make AA all private schools regardless of enrollment and sort out the rest of public schools from the other classifications according to their enrollment. Private schools, regardless of enrollment, aren’t on the same playing field with public schools. There is no way that public schools can compete year in and year out with those schools. So my solution is for the private schools to have their own classification and to break the public schools up according to enrollment. If public and private want to play each other during the season, so be it. But you wouldn’t have what you have now in the playoffs where the majority of teams left are private.

Why Bother

May 18th, 2011
4:45 pm

I love the private v. public debate. Basically, parents are afraid they kids will never win so they want to change the system so their kid can get a trophy…nice. What a great lesson…Don’t worry Billy, you can try, train and struggle all you want but you’ll never be able to beat those private school kids. What a great lesson to teach your children.

Anyone ever ask the kids….the kids want to play….anytime, anyplace and anyone. At least the kids that are worth a $%# do.

Kelly

May 18th, 2011
4:48 pm

Here’s why we in the south are so fired up. Round trip distances from Charlton County to its region games:

Stewart-Quitman – 430 miles
Baconton Charter – 308 miles
Baker County – 335 miles
Seminole County – 403 miles
Turner County – 260 miles
Terrell County – 344 miles
Clinch County – 124 miles
Miller County – 398 miles
Echols County – 175 miles
Calhoun County – 379 miles
Webster County – 396 miles
Pelham – 318 miles

Don’t tell me you give a crap about kids if you set up regions like this. These are not interstate highways, either. Two lane roads through small towns taking forever to get where you have to go. 8 Hour bus rides would be common. How many parents can make this drive for ball games? Our students will have to take just about an entire day out of school for each region game in each sport. Insane.

Kelly

May 18th, 2011
4:49 pm

The above are mapquest numbers, not numbers I made up. Look at the freakin map they have drawn up.

scodee23

May 18th, 2011
4:53 pm

The Atlanta area schools are simply trying to figure out a way to have a state championship without having to play any of the teams from South Georgia. Lowndes and Camden have won six of the 11 AAAAA championships. To be the best, you gotta beat the best. I’m just saying…..

glw

May 18th, 2011
5:04 pm

This does seem like a big mess. Why not compromise a bit? Use features of the “North Plan” and the “South Plan”.

The north schools biggest issue is enrollment disparity in the largest class. 3500 student enrollment playing 1800 student enrollment. And the south schools worry about travel time.

Why not have 5 Classifications.

Let 5A be made up of the 48 largest schools in the state. Those schools are locked in and moving up is not allowed. Schools would be placed into an 8 region format.

Let Class 2A-4A change from an 8 region format to a 16 region format. This would create smaller regions and less travel time for teams in those regions.

Class 1A could stay 8 regions since there are less schools that play football.

Most of the problems would be solved.

powder2424

May 18th, 2011
6:20 pm

I am in line with glw. I like 5 classes. I think with 6 your are going to see more schools moving up and down in class ever couple of years. making for very inconsistent regions year to year.

I am also in favor of going to 16 regions. It wouldn’t be a huge change for a lot of schools because many region already are divided into sub regions. 16 regions with 4-6 teams per region. this keeps travel down because rural high schools can choose to play teams closer to them even though they are different sizes, but this won’t effect their playoff chances

REALLY though the simplest answers is for some of the isolated large schools (i.e. Camden County) to Just build another school in the county! split the school move down a class and be the same size as your neighboring schools. But that would be sacrilege.

DH

May 18th, 2011
6:39 pm

By making classes smaller in size, that means teams in rural areas will have to travel further because fewer same-class teams will be available to play against in their geographic area.

fitzgerald

May 18th, 2011
6:51 pm

Kelly, I sympathize with Camden County if they have to travel those long distances for games. And it is not just the football team. All other sports teams would have to do the same. With these distances, you are now talking about west Texas travel distances for schools out there. They do it all the time, year after year. I doubt if it will happen, but all playoff games (this includes all sports) should be played at neutral sites. A 200 mile trip is certainly easier than that 400 mile trip.

glw

May 18th, 2011
6:57 pm

DH,

While classes would be smaller most teams would have 4-6 region games, the remaining non region games could be schedule against teams in different classes, thereby saving on transportation. For instance Camden who would be in 5A, could still play some of the Savannah area schools who might be in 3A or 4A

Wildcat Fan

May 18th, 2011
7:09 pm

Powder2424,,, Really are you serious, WHY BUILD ANOTHER SCHOOL(TO PACIFY A FEW HATERS FROM THE NORTH)OUR SCHOOL SIZE IS THE CORRECT SIZE FOR OUR POPULATION, COLLINS HILL, NORTH GWINNETT, CENTRAL GWINNETT, WALTON, BERKMAR, SOUTH GWINNETT, MILL CREEK, NORCROSS, PEACHTREERIDGE, GRAYSON, NORTH COBB, MILTON, PARKVIEW, BROOKWOOD,,THIER SCHOOL SIZES IS THE SAME AND MOST ARE BIGGER, BUT WHY NO ONE SUGGESTING THEY BUILD ANOTHER SCHOOL, IF THE PROBLEM THEY’RE HAVING IS SCHOOLS IN THE NORTH PLAYING SCHOOLS WITH 3500 STUDENTS AGAINST SCHOOLS WITH 1800 STUDENTS. THEN CLOSE OR COMBINE A FEW OF THE SCHOOLS, COMBINE 2 OF THE SCHOOLS WITH LOW ENROLLMENTS TO MAKE 1 SCHOOL., EVERYONE ALWAYS HAMMERING CAMDEN, IF I DIDNT KNOW ANY BETTER, I WOULD THINK WE HAD THE BIGGEST SCHOOL IN THE STATE. NOT EVEN IN THE TOP 5. I KNOW IT WILL NEVER BE DONE, BUT IT WOULD BE NICE, TO HEAR OTHER SUGGESTIONS, THEN WHAT CAMDEN SHOULD DO. WE ARE THE TARGET BECAUSE OF A LITTLE SUCCESS, ITS NICE TO BE TALK ABOUT, THAT MEANS WE MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT. ONE LAST THING, THIS IS THE SAME SCHOOL SAME LOCATION FOR THE LAST 15 YRS OR MORE. NO ONE EVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH OUR SINGLE HIGHSCHOOL BEFORE, UNTIL WE STARTED WINNING,,,,,,,,,,,SOUNDS A LITTLE FUNNY TO ME.

Interesting

May 19th, 2011
1:57 pm

Have they explored how the 4/8 could have worked similar to Mississippi? You have a North state champ and a South state champ who meets up to play for the overall state title. It would settle the North/South debate easily.

WarEagle

May 19th, 2011
5:07 pm

Earlier poster is correct that the Georgia courts likely are not going to resolve this matter. Consider this holding from a prior Georgia Supreme Court decision challenging GHSA action in region alignment of certain schools:

  In this case, there was no deprivation of any constitutional and statutory rights, as “interscholastic sports are extracurricular and not essential to the prescribed curriculum․”  Smith v. Crim, 240 Ga. 390, 391(1), 240 S.E.2d 884 (1977).   Indeed, we have “held that a high school football player has no right to participate in interscholastic sports․”  Georgia High School Assn. v. Waddell, 248 Ga. 542, 543, 285 S.E.2d 7 (1981) (holding “that courts of equity in this state are without authority to review decisions of football referees because those decisions do not present judicial controversies.”).   If there is no right to compete in interscholastic sports, there is no right to compete in those events in a particular region.   The trial court correctly withheld the hand of the judiciary in this non-justiciable controversy.

PARENTS AGAINST REALIGNMENT v. GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION et al.
No. S99A0654, May 17, 1999

Rick

May 19th, 2011
9:01 pm

WarEagle, that case is irrelevant. The legal issue here isn’t reclassification, but how the organization violated its own constitution.

WarEagle

May 20th, 2011
8:20 am

I disagree. The threshold issue is whether the courts should get involved in how the GHSA classifies schools for varsity sports. The Supreme Court has said it is not an issue for the courts, and that it will not interfere with the GHSA’s decision making process.

Rick

May 20th, 2011
9:08 am

We’ll see. At least you provided substance to your argument, unlike that idiot Roscoe.

Fair Play Fan

May 20th, 2011
4:08 pm

Camden County is a big problem for the AAAAA region they are in. That is, playing Savannah Schools that refused to play in AAA and AA where their population lies.. Therefore, this forces Camden to play them because they have no choice.

Under the AAAAAA plan, Camden matches up better with Brunswich, Coffee, Braswell Inst. etc. I heard that Camden numbers are down from the close to 3000 students and will be or is around 2200. Maybe the time has come to stop allowing school to play up.

dawgma

May 22nd, 2011
6:37 pm

Problem – new Fulton Cty school with 1500 kids in 2009 – AAA class, realigned in 2010 to AAAA class with 1630 kids (travel to Dalton, Cartersville, Rome GA for region games), now projected to move to 6A with projected enrollment of 1960 kids aligned in a region with student populations > 2500-3500.

3 regions – 3 years of existence. AAA – AAAAAA in 3 years!

Swearinger has lost control of the situation and needs to be removed.

piodol

May 27th, 2011
10:48 am

Name five private schools – no, ONE private school – in the entire state of Georgia that has a prayer of beating St. Thomas in Lauderdale or Don Bosco in Jersey or any of those Ohio Catholics. Georgia separating private and public is absurd and proof that even the Peach State has some wimpy public parents. As for adding classes, why not double the number? Triple! Florida now hands out 8 “state champion” trophies. Who cares when quality gives way to pleasing administrators and parents more interested in revenue and self-esteem.

Questions For GLW

May 29th, 2011
3:01 pm

“glw
May 18th, 2011
5:04 pm

Why not have 5 Classifications.

Let 5A be made up of the 48 largest schools in the state. Those schools are locked in and moving up is not allowed. Schools would be placed into an 8 region format.

Most of the problems would be solved.”

Okay, so let’s take a look @ that. You’re saying the TOP 48 schools overall should be AAAAA. & then you’re going to take those schools & break them into 8 regions.

1. Where does Camden or Lowndes fall into this group?
2. WHERE do you draw the region lines? Would this mean that Lowndes & Camden each be a region of 1?
3. Our of curiosity, I’ld love to see how you draw up your regions for all classes with that idea for AAAAA.

Bob

June 10th, 2011
3:02 pm

Did Yarbrough and/or Cowart have a hand in the reclassification mess? Everything they touch turns from gold to lead. Haven’t these two, along with Dr. Sweargin’s evident approval, have really messed up the basketball official’s associations in the State. Isn’t it about time someone put an end to this monstrosity o9f Yarbrough and Cowart. In fact, the two of the run basketball clinics that prospective officials are required to attend and officials are made to pay for attending. Money in the pockets of these two. Wake up Georgia, before it is too late.

Trojan94

June 11th, 2011
9:16 pm

kelly you have a damn good point!