"The goals were the same distance into the court at both ends of the floor."
— Gary Phillips, Georgia High School Association executive director
There are a plethora of problems with Phillips' statement stemming from the fact that the basketball goals at last weekend's state GHSA basketball championships were placed in the wrong location. Both baskets sat a foot further back than regulation, meaning a 15-foot free throw would have to travel 16 feet. A 3-point shot, also a foot further if taken from the top of the arch. For post players who normally play with their backs to the basket, the proper positioning of the basket is all important. Driving to the basket is also thrown off because players unknowingly had to get closer to the baseline.
GHSA officials knew about the problem Saturday afternoon but decided against fixing it to stay on schedule. We call foul. They cheated some of the best athletes in the state and their coaches who were probably wondering why their players' shots were short from the field and at the free throw line. They also cheated the fans who crowded into the Coliseum after paying $10 to park and $12 to enter.
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Certainly, the games were exciting, but they could have been so much more if they had been playing on a regulation court. Some of the blame must be shouldered by the Coliseum staff and management. That could be why the county has a request for proposal out for new management of the Centreplex, of which the Coliseum is a part, along with the City Auditorium. However, the majority of the fingers must point at the GHSA officials who decided to play on. For that, they receive an egregious technical foul.