In the aftermath of the Georgia High School Association vote against adopting an isolation policy, Evans High School has been offered some relief.
Whether the compromise is workable remains to be seen.
On Monday in Forsyth, the GHSA executive committee voted 33-13 against isolation, a remedy Evans was seeking to alleviate travel and academic problems encountered while competing in Class AAAAA.
On Tuesday, Dr. Ralph Swearngin, GHSA executive director, sent a proposal to Evans Principal Don Brigdon, Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price, and Bill Edwards, Region secretary of 7-AAAAA, the region Evans will enter in the 2002-03 school year.
The plan addresses each sport for which the school has a team, suggests scheduling changes that would cut down on travel and recommends an abbreviated region schedule for some teams, without compromising postseason eligibility.
"It's certainly better than what we're dealing with now. It may be a tough sell, so we're probably going to take a wait-and-see attitude," said Lee Chomskis, Evans High School's athletic director and head football coach.
The plan hinges on cooperation from Atlanta-area teams in Region 7-AAAAA. The eight schools would be required to make more trips to Columbia County.
"There will have to be extensive meetings and discussions, and of course the region we're going into has to agree, and there's eight of them and one of us," Brigdon said.
In the proposal, Dr. Swearngin stated, "I understand the numbers, of eight traveling and one staying home, but remember that Evans has to do a lot more traveling in any circumstance. I hope that there is a meeting of the schools involved to discuss these ideas, and I would be willing to be a part of these meetings.
"... If everyone cooperates, everyone has a lesser road. If there is no cooperation, the problems of late nights out of school, late-night travel and travel costs will bite everyone."
Another potential sticking point in the proposal is seeding some Evans teams for region tournaments based on the decision of an outside group or mediator.
"You're talking about a mediator choosing seeds. In my opinion we'd have to chose the mediator and have it in writing," Chomskis said.
With little time left to prepare schedules for the 2002-03 season, officials from Evans and Region 7-AAAAA will need to convene soon and iron out the details, according to Chomskis.
"I'm waiting for a call from Region 7-5A to tell me when we're going to meet. It will have to be within the next week," he said Wednesday. "It's probably going to be an all-day deal, there's going to be fussing and fighting. You want to get the best scenario you can for your kids."
Proposals for Evans in region 7-AAAAA presented by Dr. Ralph Swearngin, GHSA executive director:
Volleyball: Entry into state playoffs determined by finish in region tournament. Regular-season schedule does not require head-to-head games with all region teams; certain games selected before season to count for seeding purposes in region tournament.
Softball: Handled in the same way as volleyball - games selected before season or from selected invitational tournaments used for seeding purposes in region tournament. Attention could be given to having Evans and region teams competing in same invitationals.
Cross country:Need only to compete in region meet to be eligible for state.
Football: Regular, full region schedule. Advantageous, from academic standpoint, to schedule some region games for Saturdays.
Basketball: Evans could be seeded in region tournament without playing head-to-head schedule with all region teams; outside person or group might have to mediate the seeding procedure in this and other sports.
Wrestling: Athletes could be seeded at region meet without head-to-head competition during regular season.
Swimming: Qualification for state meet is not based on region competition.
Cheerleading: Can compete in local events and still participate in region tournament, which is only competition leading to state.
Soccer: Can compete locally, then be seeded based on pre-selected games. Tricky, since all teams do not qualify for the tournament which leads to state playoffs. Additional thinking needed.
Track: Athletes could be seeded in region meet based on times/distances in any meet; regular season head-to-head competition with region athletes unnecessary.
Tennis: Pre-selected opponents could be used for seeding, allowing Evans to compete locally and still be appropriately placed in region tournament.
Baseball: With no region tournament, Dr. Swearngin suggests that region games involving Evans be Saturday doubleheaders, with Atlanta teams each traveling one time in two-year cycle; Evans would have four road trips each year for doubleheaders in Atlanta.
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