GISA announces new division to promote sports after 10 GHSA members join

The Georgia Independent Association on Friday announced a new division called the Georgia Independent Athletic Association to promote sports teams and programs. Officials at Friday's announcement at Mercer University were (from left) Clint Morgan, GISA director of athletics; Jeff Jackson, president; 
Tommy Marshall, GIAA commissioner;  
Stan Whitlock, vice president; and 
Todd Whetsel, teacher services coordinator.

Credit: Courtesy of GISA

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The Georgia Independent Association on Friday announced a new division called the Georgia Independent Athletic Association to promote sports teams and programs. Officials at Friday's announcement at Mercer University were (from left) Clint Morgan, GISA director of athletics; Jeff Jackson, president; Tommy Marshall, GIAA commissioner; Stan Whitlock, vice president; and Todd Whetsel, teacher services coordinator.

Credit: Courtesy of GISA

Credit: Courtesy of GISA

The Georgia Independent School Association announced Friday evening the formation of a division called the Georgia Independent Athletic Association, whose objective will be to support and promote GISA’s athletic teams and programs.

GISA also named former Marist athletic director Tommy Marshall the new GIAA’s commissioner between its Class AAA and AA championship games at Mercer University,

GISA is an association of smaller independent and private schools, only 27 of which played football this season. But it’s getting a huge booster shot in 2022-23 because 10 schools – all with football teams - are leaving the Georgia High School Association to join up.

The 10 are Tattnall Square, Stratford Academy, Mount de Sales and First Presbyterian of Macon, Lakeview Academy of Gainesville, Deerfield-Windsor of Albany, Heritage of Newnan, George Walton Academy of Monroe, Strong Rock Christian of Locust Grove and St. Anne-Pacelli of Columbus.

Eight are former GISA members that are returning, but Lakeview and Pacelli are long-time GHSA members. Most of the 10 have stated as reasons for leaving the GHSA the desire for more influence of their affairs. Some complained of a new GHSA rule that made it harder for transfer students to gain immediate eligibility in sports. Others GHSA schools have shown interest in GISA as well.

“I believe I can speak for all independent high schools when I say we are thrilled to announce the formation of the GIAA,” said Marshall, who retired from Marist last May after 25 years, most of which he also served on the GHSA’s executive committee. “We have created an incredible organization that understands and supports the needs of independent high school athletic programs, and we look forward to helping these schools thrive for years to come.”

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