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Monday, September 17, 2012 - 10:24am

GHSA Rejects Play With GISA Schools

Private high school athletic teams seeking to compete against public schools had those hopes dashed at the Georgia High School Association's biannual executive committee meeting in Macon on Monday.

The perennial proposal never even made it to the full committee.

Inter-organization play has long been a popular idea among the private schools that make up the Georgia Independent School Association.

But this year, schools from the rural southern Georgia Region 4-A of the mostly public GHSA asked for permission to play GISA schools. Fuel costs and budget pressures are making games with private schools across town, instead of public schools across the state, look more attractive.

But GHSA trustees struck down the idea 6-2 before the executive committee even had a chance to vote.

“We’re afraid that if you fill up your non-region schedule with GISA schools, it may leave out some other member schools who are not going to be able to get schedules who need those schedules,” said GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin, articulating the majority view of the trustees.

Swearngin asked rhetorically: "What is the value of membership in an organization if you don’t have to belong to it to play schools in it?"

The door to the GISA is not entirely closed; Swearngin said advocates for inter-organization play should come back with a more narrow proposal.

In other matters before the GHSA, representatives of several member schools voiced their staunch opposition to a Georgia constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would give state officials power to authorize charter schools over the objections of local school boards.

GHSA leaders determined they could not adopt an official position on the issue, though, without endangering the organization’s non-profit status.