The Georgia High School Association’s Executive Committee voted Tuesday in Macon to split Class A public and private schools for the playoffs in all sports. The split will go into effect beginning with the 2012-13 school year.
“It’s a baby step forward for the small rural schools,” Washington-Wilkes football coach Robby Robinson said. “We still have many issues and problems out there. That’s just putting a Band-Aid on a big wound.”
One problem Robinson still sees is while this split helps Class A public schools, it’s not for Class AA. Washington-Wilkes is moving up to Class AA in the new six-classification system, and there are some private schools in Class AA.
The decision comes as some schools, most of which are in Class A, have discussed possibly leaving the GHSA. Robinson said the Georgia Public Schools Association – the possible new league – tentatively scheduled a meeting for Jan. 24.
Robinson said it's too early to tell if Tuesday's vote definitely ends any chances of the formation of the new association.
Lincoln County football coach Larry Campbell saw Tuesday's results as more definitive.
“It’s a done deal. There will be no pullout," he said. "Personally, I wasn’t for complete separation. My vote would have been to separate and then play each other for the state championship. That way you’d have a private school and a public school in every state championship.”
The vote put schools like Aquinas in an interesting situation.
In the new six-classification system, the Fighting Irish will play in Region 7-A with public schools, which creates issues when it comes to the split for the playoffs.
It hasn't yet been decided how teams would qualify for the playoffs. The problem is there are regions with a mix of both public and private schools, thus complicating matters. These regions were ratified on Tuesday.
Aquinas football coach Matt LeZotte said he sees both sides of the issue, and though the future isn't completely clear yet, he's with the GHSA.
“Regardless, we're going to suit up and play a season next year,” he said.