Georgia’s high school sports teams now know who they will have to beat to advance to the playoffs starting next fall.
The nearly year-long process of revising high school sports classifications is nearing completion now that the Georgia High School Association has unveiled new regional breakdowns.
Student enrollment determines the classification of Georgia’s 443 high schools, from Class A through the newly added Class AAAAAA.
The GHSA Tuesday divided the classes into eight regions, each with two halves. And it is those sub-regions that give schools a clear idea of which other schools they will play.
The changes are supposed to help schools cut down on expensive travel that also takes athletes out of class. But the state’s geography poses a challenge.
“The configurations of the state and the way that we really balloon out in the south, it’s a big state,” said Ralph Swearngen, GHSA executive director. “So you’re going to have certain areas where there’s just no way we can fix it [and] you’re going to have to travel 50 [or] 60 miles.”
Population growth played a role in the changes, too.
“Basically, we have grown an additional classification in the last decade,” Swearngen said. “And the schools were saying, you know, it really isn’t fair to have so many of us competing for a small number of championships.”
Schools have until Dec. 16 to ask to be in a different region.
The reclassification takes effect next fall. This year’s changes are part of a biennial review of the high school sports classification system.