After nearly 33 years in the GISA, Mount de Sales is headed back to the GHSA.
The Mount de Sales board of trustees voted Thursday to move the school’s interscholastic programs back to the GHSA beginning with the 2014-15 school year. Mount de Sales left the GHSA for the GISA in 1980.
A special committee formed to look at this issue voted to leave for the GHSA, two sources told The Telegraph, earlier in the week. The school’s 18-member board of trustees accepted the recommendation with a vote Thursday night at the school’s downtown campus.
Mount de Sales follows in the footsteps of fellow Macon private school First Presbyterian Day, which left the GISA for the GHSA In 2009.
Private schools have until April 1 of a GHSA reclassification year – the GHSA reclassifies in odd-numbered years – to apply for membership in the GISA.
Officials at Mount de Sales have considered a move to the GISA during every GHSA reclassification cycle over the past eight years. The administration’s primary concern with staying in the GISA was the league’s lack of large schools. Since 2003, the GISA has lost 11 schools to the GHSA. Ten of those were football playing schools in the largest classification and a number of those schools – FPD, George Walton, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, North Cobb Christian, Riverside Military – were among the league’s top programs in football and basketball.
Back in 2003, 16 teams from Class AAA made the GISA state football playoffs. There are now 12 football-playing schools total in Class AAA. Only three of those schools – Stratford, Tattnall Square and Westfield – are within 65 miles of Mount de Sales.
Mount de Sales spent at least 20 years in the GHSA from 1961 until 1980. During that span, the Cavaliers won three state football championships in a span of four years in the early 70s. The school also won eight GHSA baseball championships. The Cavaliers left for the GHSA in part because of travel concerns in 1980. The school moved into a region with schools from across the state, a situation similar to the one the school faces now. Mount de Sales has two schools from Coweta County and another from Augusta in its region.
Barring no changes to the GHSA reclassification structure, Mount de Sales will be placed in Class A. The Cavaliers would almost certainly be placed in a region with FPD.
Mount de Sales’ decision could have a ripple effect for the largest GISA schools.
Tattnall Square’s board of trustees is scheduled to vote whether to leave for the GHSA or stay in the GISA in February. Deerfield-Windsor, Southland, Stratford and Westfield will likely take a look at the possibility of leaving. The decision to leave may be made easier if Tattnall joins Mount de Sales in the GHSA.