When Evans High School lobbied last year to have the Georgia High School Association adopt an isolation policy, the GHSA shot down the proposal that would have allowed Evans to move down one classification.
That meant Evans athletic teams would endure two more years of travel to play region contests against Class AAAAA schools in the Atlanta area.
Evans soon may be able to compete closer to home, thanks to another vote Monday in Forsyth, Ga., where the GHSA executive committee overwhelmingly favored a "Big 32."
The legislation is designed to level the playing field by moving the largest schools into a separate state playoff system in the major prep sports. The Big 32 would still compete in the same regions during the regular season, and would compete against each other for championships in the postseason.
With an enrollment disparity between the largest and smallest Class AAAAA schools in Georgia, schools such as Collins Hill in the Atlanta suburb of Suwanee (3,400 students) have a clear competitive advantage over schools at the lower end of the classification.
Many schools such as Evans have about half the student population of Collins Hill.
"We can't help our numbers," Evans football coach Lee Chomskis said. "Against some of these schools, we're outmanned. It's comparable to our baseball team playing Laney. There's a major difference."
Since the Big 32 would be enacted as a constitutional amendment, it will again be put up for vote at the GHSA spring meeting. If passed, the state will again have only four GHSA classifications.
"When I first heard they were going to have a Big 32, I thought we'd still be in five-A," Chomskis said. "But they're planning to have four classifications and a Big 32. That means we'll probably get to play local schools, like Cross Creek, Greenbrier, Butler. That would be wonderful."
If the Big 32 is passed, it will go into effect for the 2004-05 school season.
For Evans, it's better late than never.
"Hopefully, this will be the end of it," Chomskis said.
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