GHSA Class A playoff system is a mess

dshirley@macon.comNovember 8, 2012 

This time next week, we will be preparing for the GHSA football playoffs and most of the GISA playoffs to begin (the GISA Class AA playoffs begin Friday).

And yet, the Class A portion of the GHSA postseason is enough to make all of our heads hurt.

While just about anyone can look at the region standings in the other GHSA classes and figure out what teams need to do Friday night to get into the playoffs or help their seeding position, Class A isn’t that way. There is a complicated power ranking in place for the first time this year in Class A as it will split into public and private school competition for the playoffs (because of the split, those teams will have next week off and begin their playoffs Nov. 23).

And really, it’s an absolute mess.

The GHSA was headed toward expanding to six classes for its playoffs, but it had its hand forced with the public-private school split and is trying to make the best of a bad situation. We’ll see if this split works like a charm or if it becomes a bigger headache than it’s worth.

The best bet is on the latter of those outcomes.

From the start, this split seemed like a bad decision -- in all sports; not just football. The championship pool already had been watered down with the move to six classes, and the GHSA didn’t need to add a seventh champion for most of its sports.

But that’s what we have for the next two years at least, and now we have to see if it actually will work. There have been a lot of questions and complaints through the regular season about the system and how it will work.

The hand-wringing will step up to a new level next week as the 16 public school and 16 private school teams that will make the playoffs will be released. Most of the private school coaches aren’t happy with this system because they want to compete with the public school teams for a state title, and once the public school coaches go through it, they won’t be happy either.

There are going to be public school teams that should make the playoffs that will be left out because of the split, and that certainly was not the intent of this. But they weren’t forward thinking enough to see that coming.

But maybe that’s a good thing. If enough of those teams feel the effects of the split, this system could be voted out of existence the next time around.

We’re stuck with this system for this school year and the next one. But after that, hopefully everyone will get back in a room and find a system that makes more sense and crowns true champions instead of what we’re going to have with this system.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or dshirley@macon.com

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