Eight representatives from small public schools met for nearly six hours Wednesday at a Macon restaurant to hammer out details for their proposed start-up league.
Those men, representing a large swath of rural Georgia, discussed a set of by-laws for the new organization, which is tentatively named the Georgia Public Schools Association. The meeting broke up just before 4 p.m. in a meeting room at Ryan’s, with the committee likely to meet one more time before a larger group of all interested schools meet in January.
Working off a model based on the GISA by-laws, the group drafted governing rules and regulations for the GPSA. The committee, whose members were nominated at a Dec. 13 meeting in Rochelle, also focused on details for cross country, football and softball -- fall sports that would be the first administered by the new GPSA during the 2012-13 school year. They said they hoped to have the framework of the by-laws in place prior to the larger meeting.
“I think we’ve done some great work, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Wilcox County principal Chad Davis said.
Wednesday’s meeting came a day after the GHSA changed its agenda for a Jan. 10 executive committee meeting. The amended agenda now includes a discussion of the public versus private issue for Class A schools. The Telegraph reported Wednesday that the GHSA reclassification subcommittee will ask the overall executive committee to split up Class A public and private schools in all sports for the playoffs. The executive committee voted against a public/private split in four sports at an October meeting.
“We need to move on like that meeting isn’t taking place,” Turner County superintendent Ray Jordan said Wednesday. “If they make a decision that impacts us, I suggest we meet as soon as possible after. But we can’t allow possible action to delay our action.”
Joining Davis and Jordan on the committee were Seminole County head football coach Alan Ingram, Terrell County athletics director William Huff, Gordon Lee athletics director Greg Ellis, Washington-Wilkes athletics director Robby Robinson, Warren County principal Kaveous Preston and Clinch County’s Cecil Barber. Jordan took a leadership role in drafting the by-laws. Stratford’s Billy Sellers represented the GISA in an observation and advisory role at the meeting. The GISA has offered advice in the formation of the GPSA. Sellers largely answered questions on how the GISA administers its by-laws.
The GPSA’s rules and regulations stayed pretty consistent with those in the GHSA and GISA by-laws with a few notable exceptions.
The biggest difference is how the GPSA deals with transfer eligibility.
The proposal, which members said is open to change following feedback from potential member schools, calls for all transfers to be initially ruled as ineligible. All transfers will have the option of appealing to their region’s advisory council, which would be made up of between four and seven members, for immediate eligibility if they had a legitimate reason for transfer. If the appeal fails with the region advisory council, then the school would have a chance to appeal to the overall GPSA executive committee.
The idea behind the proposal, members said, was that regions should be able to police recruiting and illegitimate moves better than a statewide body. The final appeals process to the GPSA overall would restrict collusion from members of a region targeting a single school, the members said.
The other big change would be the construction of the overall executive committee. The GHSA executive committee takes one representative from its 40 regions and adds 10 other at-large or specially designated members.
The GPSA hasn’t worked out the size of its executive committee, but membership on that committee or on a region’s advisory council would be restricted to current employees of a school. The GHSA currently has retired coaches or administrators and those unaffiliated with schools -- elected by the region they represent -- on its executive committee. Five members of the GHSA’s 12-member reclassification subcommittee fall into that category.
“Those people who don’t have a stake in the decisions shouldn’t be making them,” Davis said.
The group proposed two annual meetings in which all member schools would be required to attend, similar to the GISA’s rules.
The committee agreed to allow its member schools to compete against GISA schools during the regular season, and they also approved interscholastic competition against GHSA schools, although they all believed that would be unlikely. The GHSA already prohibits its member schools from competing against GISA schools.
The leadership is aiming for a Jan. 9 meeting in Macon to discuss the GPSA. The leaders said they will invite all public schools in the state. The GPSA will ask for commitments to the new league by Feb. 15.
The GPSA leaders initially scheduled the January meeting for Jan. 4, but they said they wanted to have enough time to get the word out with schools returning from the holiday break. Perhaps not coincidentally, the meeting could take place one day before the GHSA executive committee meets Jan. 10 to ratify reclassification and potentially vote on a public-private split for the playoffs in Class A.
“We never want to take anything off the table,” said Jordan, when asked if a public-private split in Class A would be enough for schools considering the GPSA to stay in the GHSA.