We’ll see if common sense comes into play Dec. 3.
This past Monday, Evans High School, with 1,843 students, was bumped up to the Georgia High School Association’s AAAAAA classification from the AAAAA level where Evans currently resides with Greenbrier, Grovetown and Lakeside. The change would begin in the 2014-15 school year and last for two school years.
If the powers that be at the GHSA take advantage of existing rules, the Knights will remain in Class AAAAA with the rest of the county schools when schools are placed in regions Dec. 3.
It’s called the Isolation Rule, and it should keep Evans aligned with their county competitors. While numbers are the first consideration to which class a school will belong, which is fair, an isolated school – one that would have to travel an average distance of 100 miles one way to other competitors – can be reclassified. According to Kevin Kenny, Evans’ athletic director, any AAAAAA school Evans would face, no matter the region, is at least 115 miles away one-way.
The Isolation Rule states: “If two or three schools in a region are considered to be isolated (even if the average travel distance is less than 100 miles one way), the Reclassification Committee shall be authorized to place those schools in another classification based on travel distances and school population size.
In the past, I’ve come across another instance in the GHSA rulebook with the word “shall” prefacing a statement. In that case, it meant the rule was required to be carried out. Does it mean that in this case? Let’s hope it does or at the least that common sense prevails and Evans remains within the Columbia County fold.
Even with slightly more students than Greenbrier (1,701), Grovetown (1,621) and Lakeside (1,598), Evans has not had an unfair competitive advantage.
There is an appeal process to move up in class, but there is no appeal process to move back down, or as Kenny put succintly in an e-mail, “We are at the mercy of the GHSA.”
With Harlem remaining in Class AA, the next big question remaining is what will the new regions look like? That will be revealed shortly after schools return from the Thanksgiving break.
The final ratification of the new classifications and regions won’t occur until Jan. 14. That will allow schools to submit requests for lateral transfers to other regions and give the Reclassification Committee an opportunity to hear appeals of those requests.
Let’s hope for status quo.