GHSA ratifies reclassification, approves 3 appeals, denies 4 others

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The Georgia High School Association’s executive committee ratified reclassification Monday, officially ending the public-private split in Class A effective in 2022-23.

The GSHA also approved appeals by Drew Charter and Gordon Lee to move up one classification - Drew into Class 2A and Gordon Lee into 3A.

Gordon Lee, a Chickamauga city school, first petitioned to move down to remain in A, its current class. Failing that, the northwest Georgia school petitioned to play up to be with schools closer to it.

The GHSA denied appeals made by Thomas County Central, Thomasville, Jenkins and Model. Schley County was allowed to drop into Class A Division 2 from 1.

The vote to ratify reclassification ends one of the most controversial offseasons of reclass debate.

It heated up with a August proposal by the GHSA’s reclass committee chairman to siphon off private schools in all classifications instead of just Class A. It ended ironically nearly five months later with private schools mixed in with public schools in all classifications, including Class A, which has staged separate public and private championships since 2012.

The GHSA addressed the issue of the larger private schools and their sports domination by increasing the out-of-zone enrollment multiplier to 3.0 from 2.0. As a result, Woodward Academy, Blessed Trinity, Marist and St. Pius will compete in Class 6A in the next academic year. Buford, a city school, will be in the highest classification for the first time. Several other private and city schools were affected.

That seemed to settle it, but then the GHSA was forced to remake Class A entirely after more than a dozen smaller GHSA private schools announced they were leaving for the Georgia Independent School Association.

That left the GHSA with too few Class A private schools to continue with separate public and private classes for smaller schools. So the GHSA tore up original plans for Class A and applied a the 3.0 multiplier to all schools, revoking the exemption that existed in Class A.

Now, Class A will have two divisions - Class A Division 1 and Class A Division 2 - based on school size. Smaller private schools such as Wesleyan, Prince Avenue Christian and St. Francis now will compete against public schools for state titles again.

Final class and region alignments and the minutes from Monday’s meeting can be found on the GHSA’s website.

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