GHSA votes down games with GISA

A proposal to allow Georgia High School Association member schools to compete against teams from the Georgia Independent School Association was narrowly defeated at the GHSA Executive Committee spring meeting on Monday.

The rejection was part of an overall GHSA trend of maintaining the status quo on the playing field.

Another proposal to change the basketball playoff brackets so that teams from the same region could not meet until the semifinals was overwhelmingly rejected.

Proposals to adopt a new classification system and bring back a multiplier for private school students were “received as information” by the reclassification subcommittee and not debated by the full executive committee. Those proposals, which would not have taken effect until the 2014-15 school year, are likely to be among the hot topics at the GHSA’s fall meeting as the association begins its biannual reclassification process.

The initiative to allow GHSA schools to play GISA teams failed by a 30-25 vote. It was the lone proposal of the 43 to come out of a subcommittee to be rejected by the full executive committee. One other item, involving time limits on softball games during invitational tournaments, was tabled for later consideration.

“There are some people who believe that there’s value to belonging to this association, that if you’re going to enjoy the benefits of this association, then you need to be involved in this association,” GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin said of the GISA debate. “And there are some practical things, too.”

Among the differentiating items Swearngin listed were eligibility and transfer issues, different sets of rules and the process for appeals.

The executive committee approved a timetable for selecting a new executive director to replace Swearngin, who previously announced that he will step down July 1, 2014, at the end of his current contract. The job will be posted on May 1 2013, applications will be accepted through Aug. 1, and a decision will be made next January. Swearngin has worked in the GHSA office since 1992 and held his current position since 2001.

Other proposals that were approved by the executive committee included:

  • Revising the "bonus points" awarded in the Class A football power rating system for schools playing teams in higher classifications. The new system will reduce the points awarded for simply playing those teams and place more emphasis on winning those games.
  • Increasing the percentage of money from the football championship games at the Georgia Dome allocated to Class A schools from 14 to 16 percent. The Class A money is divided four ways because of the separate public- and private-school championships.
  • Allowing players to wear shoulder pads at summer camps for linemen upon approval by the executive director. Swearngin expressed concerns that it would be seen as a step back from the past work done by the association to prevent heat-related injuries, but the measure was approved by a 40-15 vote.
  • Granting the executive director the authority to adjust the schedule of the basketball semifinals and finals from the way it is listed in the brackets so that a school whose boys and girls are both playing on the same night can play their games back-to-back whenever possible.