There is no perfect solution, but there is a reasonable resolution to the High School Classification problem.
The pragmatic approach would be for schools with 600 or less students Single A, between 600-1,200 students Double AA, between 1,200-1,800 students Triple AAA and above 1,800 students Quad AAAA.
Whether a school has 2,000 or 4,000 students they still have the same number of football, basketball and baseball players, therefore in reality there is no competitive advantage. Thus, there is no reason for Georgia to have more than four classifications in GHSA other than greed.
Where there is a competitive advantage is in the imbalance of Regions and Wrestling Areas. It is unfair to have six competitive schools in one region or wrestling area while only one in another. And by going back to four classifications, competitive balance can be more geographically aligned.
However, football coaches who now coach wrestling that never wrestled should have to attend mandatory training sessions in the summer where they are taught wrestling, learn how to run a wrestling practice, and gain an understanding of weight management. Besides diluting the competition with seven classifications and six places instead of the previous top four wrestlers, these coaches with little to no knowledge of wrestling are hurting the sport. The fact is wrestling is the most complex sport to coach, and it is not fair to the student athletes to be underserved by inadequate coaching.
Notwithstanding, the travel baseball during football season needs to be addressed by the GHSA. One solution is to mandate any athlete who plays travel baseball or soccer during any other scheduled calendared school sport season such as football, wrestling and basketball is ineligible to play baseball or soccer in the spring. And baseball coaches who start their practices during the middle of basketball and wrestling season under the disguise of conditioning need to be put on notice: cut it out or be terminated.
Still, the most offensive abuse is administrators and coaches manipulating their most vulnerable student population – Special Education – to lower their high school number just to move down into a lower GHSA classification. There needs to be accountability for individuals involved in this unethical behavior that merits legal action by any parent whose child was unacceptably exploited.
And politicians are constantly debating school choice for parents and students of failing schools, so shouldn’t these same parents and student athletes have a choice of attending schools with quality coaching and sports programs as well.
Coach Jim Nobles