Greg Moore’s contributions to this round of GHSA reclassification might not make headlines, but his ideas might wind up being incorporated into the plan that comes out of this weekend’s executive committee meetings.
The FPD athletics director and football head coach, with input from Stratford’s Mark Farriba, wrote one of the 14 reclassification proposals that was on the agenda at the July 20 reclassification committee meeting. Eight of those plans, including Moore’s, will be considered Sunday afternoon by the reclassification committee, with a final plan presented and voted on at Monday’s 9 a.m. executive committee meeting at the Macon Marriott City Center.
While many of the other plans focused on implementing some sort of multiplier for students living outside of a school’s service area boundaries, Moore’s plan concentrates on revisions to the structure of the GHSA’s small school division, Class A.
The plan Moore presents contains two major changes, one dealing with the Class A playoff structure and the other concerning the setup of regions in Class A.
“It really didn’t matter if you were public or private; we were trying everything we could to go beyond the public-private debate and get to, ‘What are some things in Class A that really need some consideration for Class A,’ ” Moore said. “It’s really almost impossible to compare Class A and our situation and the setup and the way things work in our classification to the way they do things in AAAAA and AAAAAA. We just felt like there were enough differences that maybe we could make some recommendations and some suggestions that would have somebody take a look at Class A as something that didn’t have to get treated like everything else.”
The plan Moore presented calls for retaining the public-private playoff split in Class A, along with the power rating qualifying structure. Currently, 16 public school and 16 private school teams qualify for the playoffs in Class A, mirroring the 32-team brackets in the GHSA’s five other classifications. The result is a bye week for Class A schools in the playoffs, usually coming while other classifications are playing their first-round contests.
Moore wants to increase the Class A playoff pools to 24 teams each in order to eliminate the open week and to provide extra postseason opportunities.
“Some folks lost the chance to host playoff games (when Class A split),” Moore said. “We felt like a lot of guys were excited about maybe more guys getting a chance to host a playoff game. It worked out on the schedule as such if we added eight teams on each side.
“It gives (seeds) nine through 16 a home playoff game. They weren’t going to get that in the way we’re set up right now.”
The other part of Moore’s plan calls for an increase in regions in Class A from eight to 12. Because more schools are assigned to Class A (102 schools in the current alignment, compared to 59-87 in other classifications), the current Class A regions are much larger than in other classes, ranging from nine to 18 schools.
By increasing the number of regions in Class A, Moore hopes travel costs can be reduced.
“We’re hoping that there will be less very large-reaching geographic regions,” Moore said. “We have to go all the way to Augusta for a region game, to play Aquinas. If we’re going to work on a power ranking system, then the power ranking system will trump the eight-region box that we’ve been in.”
In addition to a possible multiplier or mandatory bump-up in classification for schools with large numbers of students enrolled from outside of the school’s service area boundaries, the creation of a classification for the state’s largest schools is being strongly considered.
The “Big 44” class, as some of the proposals call it, would create a separate classification for schools with more than 2,000 students. None of those schools are in Middle Georgia.
Also on the table for this weekend is a proposal to change reclassification to a four-year cycle, with enrollment-based changes made halfway through the cycle.
Non-reclassification items on the executive committee agenda include a proposal to hold baseball championship games at neutral sites beginning in 2017 and a proposal to make tennis a fall sport, as well as a proposal to grant teachers of participating schools free admission to football playoff games through the semifinal round.