Georgia high schools will crown six state champions in each sport next year as the state moves from a Class AAAAA to Class AAAAAA system.
By a vote of 26-24, the Georgia High School Association Executive Committee Tuesday (May 10) approved the six classification system proposed by former Brookwood High School Athletic Director Dave Hunter.
Douglas County High School could be one of the schools that will be reclassified as a Class AAAAAA school. If the school is reclassified, Tiger teams would jump from Class AAAA to Class AAAAAA.
"We're rumored to be changing and I don't like it," Douglas County Girls Basketball Coach Chet Forsh said. "I don't see why we'd be in the largest category and compete against schools like Kennesaw Mountain and McEachern. Those schools are much bigger."
Douglas County was formerly a Class AAAAA school as recently as 2002.
"I'm afraid of the loss of funds (if the school is reclassified as Class AAAAAA)," Forsh said, who has coached at Douglas County for the past 30 years. "If the rest of the county is not there for us to play, there will be less in-town rivalries and smaller gates. I'd hate to think that we're the only school in that division. There won't be any more Douglas County vs. Chapel Hill or Douglas County vs. Lithia Springs rivalries. Less people will come to games."
Once the GHSA announces the new classifications, the schools will have 14 days to appeal to the organization to be moved up or down in classification.
After the reclassifciation vote, the committee overwhelmingly rejected the controversial 4/8 proposal advanced by Executive Committee Chairman Stan Ethridge of Savannah. That vote was surprisingly lopsided with 35 of the 50 members opposed.
The 4/8 system would have divided Georgia high schools into four classifications for the regular season and subdivided them into eight classifications for the playoffs and would thus result in crowning eight state champions in each sport. Some coaches thought that would dilute the importance of winning a state title.
The Macon Telegraph reported that Metro Atlanta schools voted 17-0 against the 4/8 plan and, by the same vote, approved the six-class plan. "It seems there is a clear divide between Atlanta and the rest of the state," Hunter told the newspaper. "That’s unfortunate."
The new Class AAAAAA system will be implemented starting with the 2012-13 school year. GHSA Communication Director Steve Figueroa said once the Department of Education determines the Full Time Enrollment (FTE) at each school, 15 percent of high schools will be placed in Class 6A, 15 percent in 5A, 16 percent in 2A, 3A and 4A and 22 percent in Class A.