Stratford, Tattnall taking their time with GHSA decision

jheeter@macon.comJanuary 26, 2013 

With Mount de Sales declaring its intention to leave the GISA for the GHSA on Thursday night, the attention of many Macon high school sports fans turns to Stratford and Tattnall Square to see if the two large private schools will remain in the GISA.

The answer, however, may not come soon.

Officials at both Stratford and Tattnall said they won’t make a decision on staying in the GISA or leaving for the GHSA any time soon. Private schools have until April 1 to apply for membership in the GHSA.

“We are going to take our time,” Stratford’s head of school Robert Veto said.

Tattnall could act first.

The school formed an advisory committee in December to decide to stay in the GISA or move to the GHSA. The committee, which is chaired by academic dean and former GISA executive director Michael Drake, has spent the past month visiting with officials from GHSA schools as part of its fact-finding mission.

Drake said the advisory committee met Thursday night at the same time Mount de Sales’ board of trustees was approving a move to the GHSA. The committee will meet one more time -- on Feb. 26 -- to come up with a recommendation to take to the board of trustees. Drake said the school has a regularly scheduled board meeting in March, but he also said the board could call a meeting any time after Feb. 26.

Drake said the school has two balls in the air, however, as it is searching for a football head coach after longtime coach Barney Hester took the head coaching job at Howard on Jan. 17.

“We have to find out how do those two decisions fit together,” Drake said.

Tattnall’s advisory committee was scheduled to make a recommendation during the meeting Thursday, but it postponed the decision until the Feb. 26 meeting. Drake said Tattnall expected to have a football coach by then, and the school would like that coach’s input.

“I think the advisory committee would certainly have to take Mount de Sales’ decision into account,” Drake said.

Like every GISA school making this decision, Tattnall will take into consideration the dwindling number of schools in GISA Class AAA. Drake said he expected Heritage and Trinity Christian-Sharpsburg to leave for the GHSA in one of the next two reclassification cycles. The new headmaster at Heritage previously worked at Athens Academy, one of the top GHSA private schools.

“The tendency of a lot of (metro Atlanta) is when they get big enough, they jump to the GHSA,” Drake said.

Veto said Stratford will be methodical in its decision-making process. Jeff Avant, the chairman of Stratford’s 26-member board of trustees, was out of town when Mount de Sales made its decision, but Veto said he’d sent Avant a text with the Cavaliers’ decision. The board likely will discuss Mount de Sales’ decision at its next meeting.

Veto also serves as the GISA’s vice chairman for interscholastic activities, so he was also lamenting the loss of one of the GISA’s most prominent interscholastic member schools.

“I’m sad … I’ve tried (hard) to keep GISA Class AAA viable,” said Veto, who added the GISA’s chain is weakened by the loss of Mount de Sales.

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