Aiming to level playing field, Georgia high school sports to be split among eight classifications

ghsa_logoThe Georgia High School Association on Monday added a seventh classification and adopted a formula that could move several private and city schools into higher classes.

The new reclassification framework, which would go into effect for the 2016-17 academic year, passed 47-10 at the GHSA’s executive committee meeting in Macon.

The largest classification, which is being called the Big 44, will comprise schools in the top 10 percent of enrollment, or about 44 schools.

Currently, the largest class (now called AAAAAA) holds 64 schools, with the largest (Mill Creek in Gwinnett County, roughly 3,700 students) more than twice as large as the smallest (Lee County in South Georgia, roughly 1,800).

Another big change in reclassification is a stipulation that schools with more than 3 percent of their student body residing outside the school’s county of origin must be moved up one class.

This rule likely will result in several private schools and city schools moving up.

“There’s the perception that certain groups of schools have an advantage because they bring in people from outside their attendance area or county,’’ said GHSA executive director Gary Phillips. ‘’Constantly we heard we had to level the playing field.’’

Phillips noted that this applies only to four sports – football, basketball, baseball and softball. Those are the ones that currently use a power-rating system to rank the Class A schools. In other sports, such as soccer, wrestling and tennis, the GHSA reserves the right to consolidate classifications for the playoffs.

The smallest classification would be called the Public/Private class. There would be five classes in between, from A to AAAAA, each getting about 58-64 schools.

Read the new classification rules in their entirety (and see who voted against them and why) at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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