GHSA votes to keep current region, class setup through 2023-24

Marist head coach Alan Chadwick hands off his Class 4A championship trophy to his players after the War Eagles beat Jefferson 30-14 during Tuesday, December 29, 2020 in Atlanta. (PHOTO/Daniel Varnado)
Caption
Marist head coach Alan Chadwick hands off his Class 4A championship trophy to his players after the War Eagles beat Jefferson 30-14 during Tuesday, December 29, 2020 in Atlanta. (PHOTO/Daniel Varnado)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

The Georgia High School Association’s executive committee voted Monday to leave schools in their current regions and classifications through the 2023-24 academic year, meaning no full reclassification in the fall.

The proposal passed 67-8 but requires a second vote, likely in the fall, because it entails a change to the GHSA’s constitution.

“The rationale was that there is a drop in FTE (school enrollment) statewide, primarily at the high school level,’' GHSA executive director Robin Hines said. “To remain in the same region and classification would make things more stable as we don’t know when or if the students will return.’'

The GHSA historically reclassifies schools on two-year cycles, moving them up or down in class based on enrollment changes. Class 7A schools typically are those with 2,000 students or more while Class 1A schools are usually 550 students or fewer. Classes in between then are divided, with roughly the same number of schools in each.

The GHSA approved a four-year cycle for the first time from 2016-17 through 2019-20. There was a mid-cycle adjustment allowed for schools with substantial increases or decreases in enrollment or other circumstances. About 12 schools were moved during that mid-year adjustment. Among those were Jefferson, Flowery Branch and Benedictine.

The GHSA reverted to the two-year cycle starting with 2020-21, so Monday’s vote essentially extended this two-year cycle to four years.

‘‘It is not a permanent move to a four-year cycle,’' Hines said. He indicated there would be an opportunity for schools to move up or down again if warranted.

’'Everything ... may be appealed such as region assignment, classification, etc., just as always. It was discussed in the full committee to conduct an assessment like we did the mid-term adjustment when there was a four-year cycle.’'

The trade-off between two-year and four-year cycles is precision versus work load and payoff.

A two-year cycle allows schools to be placed more accurately, as enrollment may fluctuate significantly over four years, but it also entails extra work for the GHSA’s staff and executive committee and for schools that must create new schedules in all sports to accommodate the makeup of their new regions or classifications.

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