4 Questions with GHSA reclass chairman Dr. Curt Miller


Today’s interviewee is Dr. Curt Miller, chairman of the GHSA’s reclassification committee, member of the GHSA’s board of trustees and athletic director at Oconee County. Miller on Monday made a proposal to the GHSA’s reclass committee that would have the state’s largest private schools compete for their own championships independent of public schools starting in 2022-23. Those nine private schools – Benedictine, Blessed Trinity, Greater Atlanta Christian, Lovett, Marist, Pace Academy, St. Pius, Westminster and Woodward Academy – would continue to play in traditional classifications and regions with public schools under Miller’s plan. The GHSA this fall will reclassify its 450-plus member schools for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years.

Dr. Curt Miller, GHSA reclassification committee chairman

1. Why is there a need to change how private schools are classified or treated for the playoffs? “This past year, with it being our first in the new reclassification that we did two years ago, and with the situation in Class 2A with Pace Academy and Lovett, the 2A member schools just felt like they didn’t have a chance to advance deep in the playoffs or win a state championship. It was pretty alarming that two schools won 11 state championships. In 3A, you had a school, Westminster, that won 10 state championships, and Greater Atlanta Christian won one. You go up to 4A and you had a school [Marist] win nine. For the first time last year, private schools were moved into 5A, and they won 11 state titles. That was an unintended consequence of extending private schools into 5A, proving that moving private schools up doesn’t solve any problems. I’m not taking anything away from private schools. They have great coaches and athletes. But they don’t have an attendance zone and can accept students from any county in the state. Public schools have specific attendance zones that are defined by their board of education. That’s the argument we’ve been hearing from our member schools in the state.” [Pace and Lovett won 10 of 17 Class 2A championships in 2020-21. Pace won a combined Class 2A/A Public championship in volleyball.]

2. Why keep them in traditional classes and regions? Why not a separate private school league? “We noticed that when we separated the single A class with private and public schools [starting in 2020], it was hard to get regular-season games for everybody. If we separate them completely, are too many public schools not going to play private schools? Are the private schools going to have to play each other three, four times before the playoffs? Again, public schools don’t mind playing private schools in region play. It’s good competition. But at the end of the day, when playing for championships, they want to play schools that are like theirs with the same type attendance zone lines.”

3. Why not adopt a stronger attendance multiplier, or put all large private schools in 5A/4A, or adopt the proposal put forth Monday by GAC’s athletic director, Tim Hardy, who suggested moving all private schools out of 2A? ‘’First of all, I want to give Tim and the bigger private schools credit for coming up with that plan. We met with them the 12th of August at Marist with Dr. [Robin] Hines and Jasper Jewell [a board member and athletic director at Atlanta Public Schools]. We had a feeling that was a plan they’d bring. It causes concern with me that they want to go through the next two years just like they were this cycle so they can get their numbers to move teams up and down. Then we’d have two more years of private schools dominating. If that’s their plan, I would like to see something sooner, or are we pushing the meter around, not solving the problem. No matter how high they go in classification, they’re still going to be competing against schools with designated school zones.” [Hardy’s plan calls for private schools’ individual sports programs to be moved to higher classifications based on a points-earned formula.]

4. What are the chances that your proposal or something similar will get the GHSA’s final approval? “I think we’ve got a month to listen to feedback [the next scheduled reclassification committee meeting is early October], but with the amount of phone calls and complaints that were made this year, something has to happen because the public schools in 2A through 5A just feel they do not have a fair shot to advance or win state championships. When there are 233 schools in 2A through 5A, and nine of them won 44 state championships, we have to take a step back and look at that.”

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