Thomasville Times Enterprise

December 17, 2013

Central not giving up GHSA reclassification fight

Jamie Wachter
Associated Press

THOMASVILLE — Thomas County Central’s complaint about the Georgia High School Association’s reclassification did not render a change at a special meeting of the GHSA’s reclassification committee in Thomaston  on Tuesday.

But the Thomas County Schools and superintendent Dr. Dusty Kornegay are not ready to stop fighting.

“We’re not giving up yet,” Kornegay said after returning to Thomasville from the meeting in Thomaston where he, along with a Lee County Schools official, were permitted to give three-minute presentations to the committee.

Central’s complaint, as presented by Kornegay, centers around the Sept. 16 change to the GHSA Bylaw 4.22, which provides that “football may be exempted from the isolation policy”, the ruling that kept Central — as well as Bainbridge and Camden County — in one class for football and a lower classification for all other sports to help with travel.

During the Dec. 3 meeting to set regions where Central and Bainbridge were placed in 1-AAAAA for football and 1-AAAA for all other sports, as well as Camden County in 3-AAAAA for all other sports and 1-AAAAAA for football, the reclassification committee used the isolation exemption to drop Evans, near Augusta, as well as Savannah-area schools Effingham County and Richmond Hill from AAAAAA to AAAAA in all sports. That disparate treatment is also part of Central’s claim.

While Kornegay was allowed to present his case in front of the committee Tuesday, he said the isolation cases weren’t part of the agenda of Tuesday’s meeting, which was called “for the sole purpose of reviewing the region alignments approved for Class AAAAA.” As such, there were lateral moves made in the classification as the committee broke up a 17-team Region 6 that it originally set two weeks ago.

Instead, Kornegay said he has been invited back to again plead Central’s case at one of the two reclassification meetings in January. The committee is slated to meet Jan. 7 to hear appeals for lateral transfers for all classifications and the entire executive committee of the GHSA is meeting Jan. 14 to hear final appeals and to ratify the reclassification plan.

“The committee voted to leave things as they are,” Kornegay said. “But there are two additional meetings in January where we have an opportunity to continue to make our case.

“There’s another meeting before the executive committee where they are going to look specifically at isolation.

“(Tuesday), they were looking at the AAAAA classification as a whole because there was one region up in north Georgia that had 17 teams in it. They spent most of the time working on that.”

And if Central’s final appeal is also not granted? Kornegay said the fight won’t end there, either.

“We plan to go back and continue to make our case,” he said. “We intend to continue to pursue all of the appeals process that is available to us through the Georgia High School Association, and beyond that, legally and legislatively, to try to get this matter addressed.”