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Krohn: Current alignment suits local schools best

POSTED: April 18, 2011 1:04 a.m.

Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

If I’m affiliated with of one of 20 northeast Georgia schools in The Times’ coverage area, that’s my stance. As you may have heard, sometime in May, the Georgia High School Association will decide whether to drastically alter the current five-classification format for its sports.

In March, the reclassification committee voted on what’s known as the 4/8 plan, which splits the state into four classifications that branch out to eight for the playoffs, producing eight state champions. But that proposal has many opponents within the executive committee, and it’s possible between now and the reclassification meeting, the other proposal of six classifications could re-emerge as the one presented for a vote. Or, as the reclassification committee continues to iron out the details for whatever plan it decides to propose, it could come up with an all-new plan to present.

As of last week, reclassification committee member Dave Hunter, architect of the six-classification plan, said no further meetings have taken place since the decision to table the proposal in March.

But again, why, if I’m part of an area school, would I want a change this drastic? Most of the reasoning behind calling for reclassification comes from two areas — south Georgia and Gwinnett County. In the south, schools complain of having to travel long distances to compete. Those schools believe the best answer is the 4/8 plan. In Gwinnett, there’s a significant disparity between the smallest and largest schools in Class AAAAA. Those schools believe the six-classification plan is the way to go.

None of the issues fueling reclassification proposals apply to area schools.  Regardless of which classification format the GHSA elects to go with, the main goal should be competitive balance. From that end, area schools have it made. Just take a look at how competitive some of the regions have been across all sports involving those schools.

In football, subregion 8A-AA had all but one team alive for chance to play for a state playoff berth heading into the final two weeks of the season. Both subregions of 8-AAA were decided by a game.

Region 8-AAA provided some great competition in basketball as well, with West Hall and Gainesville playing some epic battles that will go down in the rivalry’s history as some of the best.

And right now in Region 8-AAA, where the majority of Hall County schools reside, there’s a logjam atop the leaderboard in baseball and girls’ soccer.

A new classification plan could split up area schools and their rivalries.

Those currently debating which plan to vote on are still far apart on an agreement. After six months of talks, the reclassification committee voted in favor of the 4/8 plan on March 20. The next day at the GHSA executive committee meeting, there was no vote on whether to put it in place because there were so many details that needed to be ironed out, and so much division amongst committee members on which classification format was the best.

The fact that the reclassification committee has yet to meet in the time since the decision was tabled means the sides are likely still far apart. If a resolution couldn’t be reached after six months of negotiations, it’s hard to believe one can be reached between now and the next executive meeting.

And if the executive committee can’t agree on a reclassification plan, the five-classification plan, with its current region alignments, will stay in tact through the 2013-2014 school year.

That’s the scenario area schools should be rooting for.

Adam Krohn is a sports writer for The Times. Follow him at Twitter.com/gtimesakrohn



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