Ola High athletic director Curt Miller is joining Henry County AD Vicky Davis and Clayton County AD Kevin May in pushing for Region 6-AAAAA changes. (File photo)
McDONOUGH — Each year the NCAA seems to get closer and closer to creating a world where superconferences — conferences with as many as 16 schools — rule the collegiate sports landscape.
Don’t expect that trend to trickle down to the Georgia high school level any time soon.
Or if it does, it won’t be popular.
The Georgia High School Association’s re-classification committee announced Monday morning that it would alter its meeting schedule, postponing Thursday’s scheduled committee meeting until Dec. 17, to meet “for the sole purpose of reviewing the region alignments in Class AAAAA,” according to the GHSA’s website.
What may be at the front of that meeting’s agenda could be the way Region 6-AAAAA is projected to look for the 2014-16 school years. With 17 teams, it is, by far, the largest region in Georgia, regardless of classification. The next biggest region in Class AAAAA is Region 4 which is tentatively slated to carry 12 teams.
The proposed Region 6-AAAAA will have teams from Clayton, Henry and DeKalb counties, including football and basketball powers Miller Grove and Stephenson. Schools projected in the region from the Southern Crescent will include Drew, Forest Park, Dutchtown, Luella, Morrow, Mundy’s Mill, Ola, Stockbridge, Union Grove and Woodland. The DeKalb County schools would include Clarkson, Dunwoody, Druids Hills, M.L. King, Miller Grove, Southwest DeKalb, and Stephenson.
Ola athletic director Curt Miller said he, Henry County Schools athletic director Vicky Davis, Clayton County athletic director Kevin May and DeKalb County athletics director Horace Dunson were among those leading the charge for the GHSA to, at least, consider tweaking the arrangement.
“It’s not a situation of being mad about it, or making a big fuss about it,” Miller said. “It’s just, how can we make this right?”
May said that if such a move to a super region of 17 schools were to remain, it would undo some of the work that the GHSA has done in the past to prevent such a situation.
“This was really the purpose of us moving to six classifications, so that we could prevent having super regions,” May said. “And here we are sitting in one right now.”
Ten of the proposed region’s 17 schools are from the Southern Crescent, with Henry County having six and Clayton County with four.
With the current arrangement, and the fact that only the top four teams in any region get state tournament berths, it is possible that the number of teams in 6-AAAAA that don’t make the postseason (13) would outnumber the total number of teams in most regions in the state.
That, coupled with the increased difficulty of individual athletes making state tournaments, is cause for alarm, according to Miller.
“I really do hope that we can make some changes,” said Miller, who is also Ola’s head boys basketball coach. “To tell kids from all 17 schools who usually make state, especially in individual sports, like track, wrestling and golf that now you really won’t have a chance to make it because of the numbers is where the problem comes in.”
May said that the push for a Class AAAAA realignment has nothing to do with schools dodging competition. Rather, it’s about making sure that athletes, individually and in team competition, have as much an opportunity to make postseason play as other schools.
In fact, he said, if there’s anything county and school athletic directors are trying to dodge, it’s the logistical nightmares that could come from trying to handle so many teams and athletes in single events.
“We think this arrangement is not equitable,” May said. “It’s not viable. I can see the difficulties with trying to schedule region track meets and region basketball tournaments. If you have a shot-putter who trains and works hard to compete just like everyone else, but you give him a 1-in-17 chance of making state, as opposed to others who have a 1-in-8 or 1-in-10 chance in smaller regions, that’s just not fair.”
GHSA will not allow schools to move down in classification, but schools can move up, which both May and Miller believe could be one reason for the disproportionate number of schools currently slated to compete in Class AAAAA.
The current region alignments were constructed during a Dec. 3 meeting of the reclassification committee.
The meeting to hear appeals for schools to make lateral moves has also been moved to Jan. 7. One week after that, the full Executive Committee will meet to ratify the reclassification plan.