On Aug. 25, the Georgia High School Association announced changes to their reclassification system that were long overdue -- and unfortunately far too late.
For years everyone from school board members to administrators to parents have been asking for an isolation clause that would allow a school to change classification to compete athletically against other schools closer to home.
My kids play football at Greenbrier High School in Evans. We have to play in Region 3-AAAAA with Martin Luther King, Stephenson, Douglass and other high schools from east-metro Atlanta for the next two years -- against schools my kids have never heard of because we are the only AAAAA school in east Georgia (and will only be that size for one year because our county is opening a new school).
Many have begged for an isolation clause, or for the GHSA to go back to just four athletic classifications for years, for situations like ours for two primary reasons:
- Safety (we sometimes did not get home until after 3 a.m. the past two years, with everyone from parents to girlfriends driving highways after having been up since 6 a.m.);
- Lost time athletes spend out of the classroom.
I was upset -- and not alone -- that the GHSA now finally made this change, and it appears not for safety or classroom time, but for diesel prices. Where are their priorities? I think this is a clear signal that it is time for the Georgia Department of Education and the state legislature to take a long hard look at the GHSA. The NCAA is run by administrators, not coaches. It is clear from this action that high school sports in Georgia, and the kids who play them, deserve better. ...
Given the large deficits school systems are facing, the legislature needs to act now and allow schools to apply immediately under the isolation clause starting next year -- or, even better, to force an immediate reclassification back to four classifications to greatly reduce travel. ...
Randy Griffin, Evans