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Reclassification coming next week

POSTED: November 10, 2011 10:53 p.m.

Looks like reclassification will happen after all.

After months of talk, then a lot of silence, there is again movement. The AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution for those who might not know) is reporting in its Prep Zone blog that the Georgia High School Association reclassification committee will meet Wednesday to place the state's 440 member high schools into one of six classifications.

After that, schools will have to decide whether they want to play at their classification or play up -- schools can't play down in classification. .

In Georgia (again, for the uninitiated), schools are divided into classifications based on population. The more students at a school, the more As in the classification.

The state uses a percentage to decide how many schools wind up in each classification -- more than 20 percent will be in A and around 15 percent in AAAAAA, or so it's being reported.

Under projections by the folks at GHSF Daily, fast-growing Richmond Hill High School will be AAAAA -- up a class after two seasons in AAAA.

Not so long ago, the Wildcats were a AAA school, by the way.

Bryan County High Schoo is also expected to be moved up, from A to AA.

But that's only half the fun. Georgia's public high schools are also divided into eight regions per classification -- supposedly based on geography. Ok, loosely based on geography.

Which means travel. Which is something schools have been trying to avoid -- especially in a down ecomony and when fuel prices are through the roof. Those 100 mile one-way road trips can start to hurt.

That means schools also have to look at what region they could conceivably wind up in if they play at the class the GHSA puts them in. In recent years, RHHS and Liberty County, for example, had to compete in a region centered around Augusta. Long rides in school buses were the norm.

It's why the oft-maligned Savannah schools, some of which are really Class A or AA schools in AAAAA clothing, have played AAAAA sports for as long as there has been AAAAA sports. And why they were AAAA when that was the biggest classification going -- to limit travel.

Anyway, it's going to be interesting to see how the realignment shakes out for local schools. One might see a region in which Richmond Hill, Bradwell, Liberty County, South Effingham, Statesboro and perhaps some of the Savannah public schools join together to form a region. (Effingham County can't join in. That school is projected to be in Class AAAAAA. I knew the place was growing. Didn't realize it was growing that much).

Bryan County could find itself in AA with old Class A foes Savannah Christian and Metter and pick up new opponents like Benedictine (if the Cadets leave 3-AAAAA), Vidalia, McIntosh County Academy, Long County and Screven County -- and perhaps more. That's a fair amount of travel.

It would initially seem like a straighforward enough process, but it isn't. Some regions are football regions, others are basketball regions, etc. Coaches in one sports want this, coaches in another sport want that, but nobody in his or her right mind wants to willingly go into a region in which their team is going to get beat like a rented mule.

What's more, ADs often won't let ADs at other schools know their intent -- because at the end of the day everyone is looking out for their school first.

Stay tuned.


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