Finally an improvement. This morning in Macon, the GHS Executive Committee voted 36-12-1 to split Class A playoffs in all sports into public and private brackets.
Lincoln County will be in Region 7-A for 2012-2014. First Presbyterian also appears to be in 7-A. Today the GHSA determined their previous approval for those schools to move to other regions was dependent on whether a large number of schools pulled out of the GHSA. With that now unlikely, the 7-A alignment originally proposed is approved.
Public and private schools will play each other in region competition as they always have. When it's playoff time, public schools will be seeded and compete against each other for a state title, and private schools will compete against other privates. At most the playoff brackets will have 16 teams each, down from the current 32.
While some may say neither will be a true state champion under this scenario, a strong case can be made this is akin to having champions in other classes. Starting with 2012, GHSA will crown 7 state champions in each sport.
Important questions remain about how schools will be seeded in the playoffs, given the widely varying number of public and private schools in different regions. Some regions have no private, and some have no public. Also, the GHSA may need to address the concern that games against teams from the other bracket may count in the seedings.
This change will probably avoid the much-discussed secession of 30 or more small public schools. The GPSA (Georgia Public Schools Association), as the new league may have been called, may still be created in some form soon. A January 24 meeting of this group will help decide its future.
Interestingly, the first official use of the GPSA name appears, of all places, in the minutes of today's GHSA meeting. Quoting, "Motion by Jesse Crews, seconded, to make contact with the representatives of the newly formed Georgia Public School Association concerning meeting with the GHSA Trustees as soon as possible." The voice motion was approved, so there may be a meeting of reps from the GHSA and the currently non-existent GPSA.
This is not a solution to the overall problem, but an improvement. Most public schools, for travel and other reasons, want to compete with the private schools. Unfortunately, some private schools so manipulated the playing field that this separation is the only current viable option. This still leaves a number of important issues that the GHSA must tackle in the coming years if the organization is to meet its objective of fair competition.
This separation is not unusual. Most other states have separations, either by class or by full association. Georgia is one of the last to deal with this.
Official GHSA January 10 minutes
Macon.com: GHSA plits Class A public and private schools
Chronicle: GHSA votes to split Class A playoffs
SavannahNow.com: GHSA splits Class A into public, private divisions