High School Sports

Notebook: GHSA preparing to host soccer finals at Mercer

Last fall, Mercer stepped in and hosted Northside’s GHSA Class AAAAA football semifinal when McConnell-Talbert Stadium was unavailable because of field conditions.

Mercer will have another opportunity to step in this spring when it hosts the GHSA’s soccer championship games for the first time.

Five Star Stadium will be the site of the championship games, scheduled for May 14-16. Mercer and the GHSA reached a two-year agreement earlier this year, moving the title games from Kennesaw State’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium and Emory’s Woodruff PE Center soccer field.

“Mercer was, I don’t know if perfect is the right word, but it’s a perfect venue for its location in the state and that weather is not going to affect that stadium,” GHSA executive director Gary Phillips said. “With the artificial surface, we won’t have to worry about it raining and tearing up somebody’s field.

“We were involved on the edges of (the Northside football game). They did a great job. The people of Northside did nothing but brag on the chance to play there and how lucky they felt they were. It kind of went together for us. We’re excited about (returning).”

ELIGIBILITY

A revised bylaw 1.62(b) was approved Monday at the GHSA executive committee spring meeting that tightened the association’s transfer rules.

Under the revised bylaw, a move by a private or charter school student from one public high school attendance area to another within the same county would not trigger an automatic right to transfer to another private or charter school.

Such a move would have to be approved through the GHSA’s hardship process.

The earlier bylaw, which permitted such moves, was suspended at the fall executive committee meeting as the transfer of Alabama commit Demetris Robertson from Savannah Country Day to Savannah Christian played out. His move was eventually approved through the hardship process.

Another bylaw, 4.11(a)(3), was approved that would avoid the type of votes that played out at last fall’s meeting, where the discussion and vote on transfer bylaw came up during new business and did not appear on the agenda.

The new bylaw will require executive committee members to submit proposals in writing five days before the executive committee meeting.

Emergency legislation can be brought up without prior submission, but only with the approval of the executive director.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

The executive committee approved a road map for schools to follow should they be invited to a national postseason tournament, such as the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament in basketball.

Under the proposal, schools would have to apply to the executive director for approval at least 14 days before the event.

SOFTBALL

The GHSA softball subcommittee voted Sunday to retain its Elite Eight championship format, voting down a plan to go to a Final Four bracket that would have cut down on the number of games played in Columbus.

A proposal to go to a statewide bracket, like the one used in football and basketball, advanced out of committee and was approved by the full executive committee Monday.

That means Middle Georgia teams from Region 2 in a particular class might have to travel to the north end of the state for a second-round series.

BASKETBALL

The committee approved a plan to return to a sectional format for the quarterfinals and semifinals of the state playoffs, a move that returns quarterfinal games to neutral sites.

The GHSA will hold quarterfinal games on the Thursday and Friday before the semifinals, which will continue to take place the Saturday before the championship round at the Macon Coliseum.

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