Originally created 10/13/03

Committee to vote on realignment



The schools placed in the future Region 8-AAAA want the Columbia County schools out. The programs in 2-AAAA want Greenbrier, Evans and Lakeside in. Evans coach Marty Jackson doesn't care where they go, as long as they all stay together.

There's a good chance all three will get their wish.

When the Georgia High School Association's Executive Committee meets today in Forsyth to vote on 2004-06 realignment, the Columbia County schools will take a close look at the result.

If the committee approves the current assignments, the Columbia County trio will be moved to Region 8-AAAA with five Athens-area schools and five Atlanta-area schools.

Greenbrier coach Mickey Derrick doesn't want that to stick.

"I've been in situations like that before," Derrick said. "You have five schools in Atlanta, five from Athens and three from Columbia County. We'd have to subdivide in football, and that would divide the Columbia County schools. There's no other way to do it."

In other words, two Columbia County schools would move into one subregion, and one would be placed into another.

Evans, which, as the only current Class AAAAA school in the area, has had well-documented travel issues while journeying to Atlanta for contests, wants to avoid that situation.

"Whatever we do," Jackson said, "I want to make sure we're with Greenbrier and Lakeside."

The solution, according to the Columbia County programs, is simple: vacate Region 8-AAAA and slide into Region 2-AAAA in south Georgia, a move coaches from those two regions want to see.

For that to happen, the Executive Committee would have to reject the Reclassification Committee's proposed alignments today. If that occurs, there are several options, according to Steve Figueroa, the director of media relations for the GHSA.

The Executive Committee could send the proposal back to the Reclassification Committee, which would then have 30 days to devise a new plan.

"We're hoping against that," Figueroa said. "We don't want to inconvenience them."

But there are two instances that are more likely. If the Executive Committee votes down the Class AAAA proposal, the Columbia County schools could be invited into the four-team 2-AAAA region during the "new business" portion of the meeting.

The Columbia County programs would accept the invitation, and the Executive Committee could revote.

In the second scenario, an amendment could be added to the original proposal before the vote, placing the trio in Region 2-AAAA, and the Executive Committee could then accept the new alignment that allows the trio to move into a region with Statesboro, Ware County, Wayne County and Effingham County.

"I think the GHSA would love for us to go down there," Derrick said. "It would take a lot of pressure off them. The smart thing would be for us to go to 2-AAAA."

Jackson said he believes the Columbia County schools will get their wish.

"I feel certain we'll be in the south region," Jackson said. "I don't know why they wouldn't do that."

CURRENT PROPOSAL

Proposed region realignments for 2004-06:

REGION 2-AAAA

Effingham County

Statesboro

Ware County

Wayne County

REGION 8-AAAA

Cedar Shoals

Clarke Central

Eastside

Evans

Greenbrier

Habersham Central

Heritage

Jackson County

Lakeside

Loganville

Madison County

Rockdale County

Salem

Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or josh.katzowitz@augustachronicle.com.