A (cautious) look at reclassification

jheeter@macon.comNovember 13, 2013 

I’ve tried to break down reclassification numbers over the past 48 hours or so. It’s really a pointless pursuit, because we have no idea of what the cutoffs for each class will be. The reclassification committee will meet Monday morning to set the classifications, and I’ll have full coverage from Thomaston.

Here is what I can provide. I can take the same percentages used two years ago and use that to illustrate where schools would be if the exact same percentages are used. I also have a good idea of which schools are really close to the cutoff lines for each class.

Based on 2012-14 percentages: Class AAAAAA (14.75 percent), Class AAAAA (16.25 percent), Class AAAA (16 percent), Class AAA (16 percent), Class AA (15 percent), Class A (22 percent).

With 452 schools listed on FTE counts provided by the GHSA (there were 444 schools in 2011 reclassification season), this is an approximation of how many schools would be in each class if they used the same percentage: Class AAAAAA (66 or 67), Class AAAAA (73 or 74), Class AAAA (72), Class AAA (72), Class AA (68), Class A (100).

The committee has percentages to play with, between 14 and 17 percent for each of the five largest classes and the remaining 21-22 percent in Class A, which has the largest number of non-football playing schools. I’m of the belief that the reclass committee can and will adjust numbers to shift specific schools that close to the line.

For example, the smallest football-playing school in Class AA is Wesleyan, which was a spark of controversy among Class A public schools who didn’t want to compete against the Wolves. I find it hard to believe the committee didn’t play with the numbers at all to find a way to push Wesleyan up to AA. I’d guess that’s where the 0.75 in 14.75 and 0.25 in 16.25 playing into the shifting of schools around. It’s way too convenient that the biggest lightening rod was the exact cutoff for Class AA. The example just illustrates the unpredictability of the process. That said, let us predict.

What follows assumes the committee use similar percentages. Also, all schools can appeal the FTE counts.

Class AAAAAA – no Middle Georgia teams

Tucker will be really close to the line as it is the 64th largest school. I have to think almost any percentage would push them up to the largest class.

Northside is the 75th largest school, so the committee would have to put 17 percent of the schools in Class AAAAAA to push the Eagles up. That will not happen.

Class AAAAA – Northside (75th largest), Houston County (84th), Warner Robins (93rd), Jones County (110th)

All four are pretty safely in Class AAAAA. As far as the current Region 2-AAAAA, Evans will move up to AAAAAA unless the committee isolates the school down a class because there will be no schools close by in the same class. However, in the past Evans has traveled to DeKalb County for region play, and that could certainly happen once again. The other Columbia County schools will remain in Class AAAAA, and they could again be paired with the Houston County schools.

Class AAAA – Baldwin (148th), Veterans (150th), Upson-Lee (171st), Perry (175th), West Laurens (185th), Mary Persons (186th), Howard (200th), Crisp County (207th)

Baldwin should be one of the 10 largest schools in Class AAAA, which could put the Braves on the bubble for moving up. Crisp County is on the bubble the other way as one of the six smallest in AAAA in this projection.

Other notables on the fringe: Cartersville (up from AAA), Carver-Columbus (up from AAA), Buford (up from AAA), St. Pius X (up from AAA) – all of these seem certain. North Oconee (up from AAA) and North Hall (up from AAA) are closer to the edge.

Class AAA – Central (217th), Westside (223rd), Rutland (224th), Peach County (227th), Southwest (252nd), Dodge County (262nd), Washington County (271st), Toombs County (276th), Jeff Davis (283rd).

Central would be one of the four largest Class AAA schools, and Westside and Rutland could be among the 10 largest. Even if Central went up, it looks like Peach County could gain Westside and Rutland as much needed competitive region mates. Toombs County would be one of the 10 smallest and Jeff Davis would be one of the four smallest in this projection.

Other notables: Calhoun (up from AA), Jefferson (up from AA).

Class AA – Fitzgerald (288th), Vidalia (294th), Lamar County (300th), Putnam County (306th), Bleckley County (309th), Northeast (311th), East Laurens (319th), Dublin (320th), Monticello (322nd), Crawford County (332nd), Macon County (337th), Telfair County (350th), Mount de Sales (353rd).

Fitzgerald would be the third largest Class AA school, while Telfair County would be the sixth smallest and Mount de Sales would be the third smallest. The Cavaliers are definitely on the bubble. I believe they are the 99th largest school, and they could end up in either AA or A.

Other notables: Jefferson County (down from AAA), Gordon Lee (up from A), Holy Innocents’ (up from A), Darlington (up from A), Seminole County (up from A).

Class A – Taylor County (356th), Wilkinson County (358th), Hawkinsville (366th), Montgomery County (371st), Dooly County (372nd), FPD (378th), Wilcox County (384th), Johnson County (387th), Treutlen (391st), Hancock Central (395th), Stratford (396th), GMC (398th), Wheeler County (411th), Twiggs County (417th), Tattnall Square (425th).

Taylor County would be the largest Class A school in this projection, and Wilkinson County is in the top three. The most interesting number here is Tattnall’s projected 207 student enrollment. That would make Tattnall the ninth smallest football playing school in the entire GHSA. That may not mean a ton. Christian Heritage is a playoff team this year in Class A with 155 students, and Pacelli made the playoffs with 196.

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