By-Law 2.00 - School

Last Updated: Tue, 07/09/2024 - 2:13pm



2.11 The GHSA is a voluntary association available to any Georgia high school, grades 9-12, that has been authorized to seek membership by the local board of education or similar governing body of control.

  1. Member schools agree to conform to the Constitution and By-Laws of the GHSA.
  2. Member schools agree to conform to the rules of the region organizations to which they are assigned.
  3. Should a conflict arise between state rules and region rules, the state rules always take precedent.

2.12 Procedure for Membership:

  1. The local board of education or similar governing body of control must adopt a resolution authorizing membership for the high school.
  2. Membership is continued through the original resolution as long as the school is in good standing with the GHSA.
  3. April 1 preceding the reclassification alignment process is the deadline date for new and existing private schools to join the GHSA for the next reclassification period. Newly established public schools will have a deadline date of April 1 to join the GHSA for the upcoming school year. No private school with an actual numerical enrollment of less than 150 students in grades 9-12 will be admitted to the GHSA.
  4. Converted charter schools whose attendance zones and eligibility requirements do not change retain their membership in the GHSA. Converted charter schools or startup charter schools must apply for membership in the GHSA.

2.13 Dues for Membership:

  1. The amount of the dues is set annually by the Executive Committee of the GHSA, and includes a portion of the cost of catastrophic insurance.
    1. Dues must be paid prior to October 15 of each year.
    2. Schools failing to meet the dues-payment deadline are not eligible to participate in any contest until membership dues are paid.
  2. Dues are prorated according to the school’s classification.
    NOTE: Schools with a total enrollment of less than 50 students are assessed their insurance fees according to the actual number of participants.
  3. The Dues schedule is as follows:
    7A $1,115.00 $1,215.00
    6A $990.00 $1,090.00
    5A $865.00 $965.00
    4A $740.00 $840.00
    3A $615.00 $715.00
    2A $490.00 $590.00
    A $365.00 $465.00

2.14 If a school or school system initiates litigation against the association and the court rules in favor of the association, the school or school system shall be responsible for paying all court costs and attorneys’ fees.

2.15 If the association conducts an investigation of a member school in reference to a possible violation of association rules and the member school is found to be in violation, the school shall be assessed the cost of the investigation in addition to any fines.

2.16 Playing a Non-Region Schedule: A school may choose to play a non-region schedule in football, fastpitch softball, basketball, and/or baseball, and this choice is in effect for the current reclassification cycle.

  1. A GHSA member school playing a non-region schedule may not participate in post-season competition in the GHSA or any other association..
  2. Results of games with a school playing a non-region schedule may not be used in region standings.
  3. Schools playing a non-region schedule in football, fastpitch softball, basketball and/or baseball must inform the GHSA office not less than 30 days prior to the first official playing date for that sport.

2.17 Region and Area Divisions: A classification in any sport will be considered Regionalized when a majority of the schools (with a minimum of 5) in all regions participate in that sport. In sports where all classifications are not regionalized, the classes may be divided into Area alignments, and two or more classifications, or any portions thereof, may be combined at the discretion of the Executive Director. NOTE: Regions formed by the Reclassification Committee that consist of fewer than five (5) teams may be exempted from this rule.


2.21 The administrative head of each school shall have on file in the school office:

  1. a certificate of an annual physical examination given by a licensed medical physician, a doctor of Osteopathic medicine, nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant indicating the student is approved for participation in athletic activities before that student may try-out, participate in practice, conditioning drills or summer activities, or participate in interscholastic contests (see By-Law 1.41).
  2. a written Emergency Action Plan for athletic practices and games. This plan must include responses to natural disasters, serious illnesses/injuries, and terroristic events, and must have the involvement of local law enforcement agencies, rescue agencies, medical doctors and hospital personnel.
  3. The Emergency Action Plan (EAP) should include the following:
    1. The venue-specific EAP should be reviewed and rehearsed annually prior to each sport season. Recommended personnel include local Emergency Medical Services (EMS), school public safety officials, school administrators, on-site medical personnel or school medical staff (team physicians or athletic trainers) and all pertinent coaching staff members.
    2. The venue-specific EAP and AED should be accessible to all involved in a potential emergent situation for practices, games or other athletic events.
    3. All emergency equipment which is available onsite, including Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), should be listed on the EAP, stored in a safe place, be well-marked and publicized.
    4. The EAP should identify key personnel and their responsibilities to carry out the plan of action with a designated chain of command, including documentation actions that need to be taken post emergency.
    5. The EAP should contain appropriate contact information for the local and/or responding EMS personnel.
    6. The EAP should contain the facility address, GPS coordinates, location and contact information.
    7. A medical timeout is recommended prior to all GHSA sanctioned events to review the EAP.

2.22 The administrative head of each school shall operate all interscholastic contests and activities under direct and complete control of the school administration or designated school personnel. These responsibilities are not to be delegated by the board of education, superintendent, or principal to any person or persons who are not a part of the school’s professional staff.

2.23 The administrative head of each school is expected to be a person who believes in fairness and honesty as evidenced by the strict adherence to all rules and regulations in regards to eligibility of contestants representing his/her school.

2.24 The administrative head of each school is expected to employ those persons who exemplify fairness and honesty. Any certificated person who violates rules in regard to student eligibility, or illegal practices, or knowingly misleads a member school and/or the GHSA will have a report of that behavior sent to the Professional Standards Commission.

2.25 The administrative head of each school may submit to the GHSA Executive Committee such recommendations for the improvement of the GHSA as he/she may deem necessary.

  1. These recommendations must be submitted to the GHSA Office at least thirty (30) calendar days prior to the meeting of the Executive Committee.
  2. A proposal brought to the Executive Committee that is denied by either a subcommittee or the full Executive Committee may not be submitted for three (3) regularly-scheduled meetings after the previous submission unless a substantive change has been made to the proposal.

2.26 The member institution has a responsibility to educate student-athletes, coaches, and other appropriate persons on GHSA rules and procedures that could affect them. Further, the member school should monitor its compliance with State Association guidelines.

2.27 Member schools that fail to follow stated procedures and deadlines may be assessed a fine for each violation.

2.28 Schools that need to cancel appointments scheduled with the Hardship Committee or the Appeals Board must do so at least 24 hours before the appointment. Failure to cancel properly will result in a fine.

2.29 Member schools are expected to fulfill their responsibilities for a sports season once they have committed to play that sport.

  1. If a school commits to play a sport at the region meeting that precedes the sport, or on March 1 for Area sports, and then drops out of competition before or during the season, the school will have to play a non-region schedule in that sport the next year.
  2. If a school enters the competitive structure that qualifies it to advance in postseason competition, that school is expected to advance if it qualifies. Schools that drop out of competition after qualifying may be penalized with fines or probation.
  3. Appeals for emergency circumstances may be filed with the Executive Director.


2.31 Eligibility reports are required for all contestants prior to the calendar date for the first possible practice in any GHSA activity. (EXCEPTION: Eligibility reports for Literary, One-Act Play and Riflery competitions are due twenty (20) calendar days before the first contest.)

  1. Students are not allowed to participate in academic, athletic or literary competitions until their eligibility reports have been received and processed by the GHSA Office.
  2. Failure to meet the eligibility deadline may lead the GHSA Executive Director to:
    1. Assess a fine to the school that is delinquent.
    2. Suspend the membership of a school that does not file eligibility reports.
    3. Reports not filed properly will be returned to the school for resubmission.

2.32 Schools playing interscholastic contests before filing an eligibility report on one or more participating students may be subject to one or more of the following penalties imposed by the GHSA Executive Director:

  1. a fine per game or contest in which one or more participants had no eligibility report filed;
  2. forfeiture of any game in which one or more participants did not have eligibility report filed;
  3. restriction from competition in any sport if the fines assessed are not paid within fourteen (14) calendar days of notification.

2.33 Supplementary eligibility reports may be submitted at any time on transfer students, students coming out for the team after the initial report, and/or those students who gain eligibility at the beginning of a semester.

2.34 Once a student has been certified eligible by the school and has been processed by the GHSA, eligibility is assumed to be continuing, and no further eligibility report is necessary for that student during the school year unless situations occur that render the student ineligible.

2.35 If a student loses eligibility and regains it during the school year, a new eligibility report should be filed for that student.

2.36 Changes of Eligibility Records: When a school discovers that incorrect information has been given on an eligibility report, the school should contact the GHSA office for procedural instructions.

2.37 Requests to investigate a student’s eligibility in regard to the transfer rule must be filed with the GHSA office at least twenty (20) calendar days before the end of the regular season in order for any penalties to be applied before the end of the playoffs.


2.41 Member schools shall prohibit participation in interscholastic activities by any student who was retained in the eighth grade for competitive purposes. The governing body of each school system shall develop a written policy showing that the system does not allow retention for competitive purposes.


2.51 An athletic head coach must be a professional teacher, a full-time para professional (NOTE: para professionals must take the Head Coaching Class offered through the GHSA coaches education program), or hold a four-year degree while also employed in a teaching or administrative position, meeting the teaching requirements and be employed by only one board of education or similar governing authority within the GHSA membership, regardless of whether or not they are paid for their coaching
(Exception: when all boards of education or similar governing authorities and all principals/headmasters involved sign a consent form on an annual basis he/she may coach at another school system), AND:

  1. be employed for 20 or more hours per week on a regular basis in a professional, contracted position and must hold a teaching certificate or leadership certificate issued by the State of Georgia, OR
  2. be employed for 20 or more hours per week on a regular basis as a JROTC instructor in the school's JROTC program, OR
  3. be assigned as a student intern in a practice teaching situation under the guidance of a college or university teacher training program, OR
  4. be a retired teacher teaching or supervising (NOTE: coaching meets the supervising requirement of this by-law) less than one-half time (forty hours considered full time), OR
  5. be a certified teacher or administrator at a member school on medical leave governed by the “Family Medical Leave Act” and/or the “Georgia Teacher Maternity Leave of Absence” policy (see the GHSA web site for the required form).
  6. If a currently certified faculty-coach at a member school loses his/her teaching position because of a reduction in force action, that school may petition the Executive Director in writing for that individual to continue to coach without going through the community coach training.
  7. A teacher at a non-member school who is hired to be a coach at a member school must complete the GHSA Community Coach Education program and may not be a head coach. A consent form between the two schools must be completed annually.
  8. If a school is in a charter or strategic waiver (IE2) system, the coach (head coach or assistant) must meet the highly qualified requirements outlined in the Georgia Professional Standards Commission’s guidelines.

2.52 Member schools may employ persons who are not professionally certificated teachers as assistant coaches in their athletic programs. These individuals are referred to as “community coaches.”

  1. Community Coach is defined as a person who does not have a professional-level certification, who relates in role and function to a professional and does a portion of the professional's job or tasks under the supervision of the professional, and whose decision-making authority is limited and regulated by the professional. Community coaches are not allowed to function without the immediate supervision of an educational professional and may not assume any of the duties of a varsity Head Coach or be named by the school as a varsity Head Coach.
  2. Licensed para-professionals and full-time substitute teachers must complete the GHSA Coaches Education Program and testing program to be eligible to coach.
  3. All community coaches should be signed to a written “agreement to coach.”
    1. They may coach for only one board of education annually, regardless of whether or not they are paid for their services.
    2. Community coaches may not coach the same sport at more than one school even if there are multiple schools in the system.
  4. All community coaches must complete the GHSA Coaches Education Training and Testing Program in “Sport First Aid” and “Principles for Coaches.”
    1. Prospective coaches must be subject to a criminal background check before they are registered for the GHSA coaches education program.
    2. Courses are offered at various times each school year throughout the state.
    3. Prospective coaches are registered with the GHSA office by the school hiring them.
    4. No community coach may do any GHSA coaching until he/she has been notified that the GHSA Coaches Education Program had been completed successfully.
  5. It is recommended that the following priority for employment be used:
    1. certified employees in the local system (secondary, middle, elementary, central office, etc.);
    2. retired certificated personnel;
    3. community coaches who have completed the GHSA Coaches Education Program.
  6. All community coaches must attend a regular GHSA rules clinic each year for any sport in which they coach beginning with their first year of service or the school will be fined.
  7. No person who has coached a non-GHSA team in a sport or activity within the previous 12 months may be hired or utilized by a GHSA member school in that same sport or activity IF any of that GHSA school’s players participated on the non-GHSA team that person coached.

2.53 GHSA member schools must register all coaches in all GHSA governed activities according to the following:

  1. An initial directory listing of administrators and coaches must be completed and filed with the State Office by August 1 of each year. Only professionally certificated personnel, or individuals holding a four-year degree who are employed in a teaching or administrative position, are to be included on the initial directory listings.
  2. Qualified Community Coaches are to be reported on the “School Staff Roster” on the GHSA web site. Only those persons who have successfully completed the GHSA Coaches Education Program are to be listed. NOTE: Schools must verify the successful completion of the coaches education program BEFORE community coaches are submitted to the GHSA and BEFORE any coaching activities are allowed (forms on the GHSA web site).
  3. After August 1, schools will have occasion to add members to their coaching staff. It is the responsibility of the member school to register these additions in a timely manner, using the School Staff Roster on the GHSA web site.
  4. Failure to comply with these procedures could result in punitive actions including, but not limited to, fines, forfeitures and other penalties assessed to the member school.

2.54 Every faculty coach, community coach, or student-teaching intern at a member school must complete:

  1. a GHSA-sponsored rules clinic if he/she coaches the following sports or activities: cross country, football, softball, volleyball, riflery, literary, esports, one act play, cheerleading (spirit and/or competitive), basketball, lacrosse, wrestling, swimming and diving, track, baseball, golf, soccer and gymnastics.
  2. CPR (minimum compression only) and AED training prior to any team activity or within a maximum of 30 days from the start of a team activity and it must be renewed at a minimum of every two years.
  3. All coaches must attend/complete a comprehensive training and education program for “Traumatic Head Injuries.” The recommendation is the CDC “Heads Up” for coaches.
    NOTE: A fine for each coach who does not complete a rules clinic, or who does not complete the required CPR, AED or concussion management training, before the assigned deadline will be assessed to the school.

2.55 A coach on the payroll of one school district, but under contract to another school district for the following year, may help with spring practice at the new school if arrangements are satisfactory with both systems.

2.56 An assistant or head coach at a GHSA member school may register and officiate a sport in which they coach with the following provisions:

  1. They may officiate a sub-varsity contest at any GHSA member school.
  2. They may officiate at the varsity and/or post-season level, if the game does NOT involve schools in the same classification as the school at which they coach.


2.61 All practices (team and individual) and all regular-season interscholastic contests for GHSA-member schools shall be conducted outside the school day of the participants' school.

  1. Regional, Sectional, and/or State playoffs are exempt from this rule.
  2. The “school day” is defined as: that period of time between when students are required to report to school and the time of dismissal of that school. EXCEPTION: When the host school is not in session on a given day, competitions may be scheduled earlier than normal dismissal time for the host school. However, any school that is in session on that day may not compete in that event before the normal dismissal time of that school.
  3. A player who participates in a GHSA sport may not participate in practices that occur during the school day. Practice is defined as any activity that is school-initiated, organized, coordinated or supported.
  4. All practices will have a maximum length of 3 hours.
  5. A maximum of two (2) practice sessions my be held in the same day. When multiple sessions are held, the maximum practice time is extended to five (5) hours. Sessions must be separated by a three (3) hour rest break in a cool environment and this rest break cannot included weightlifting or conditioning. When a double session practice day occurs, the following practice day must be a single session day. (Football contact guidelines must be followed)
  6. Football participants complete the five (5) day acclimatization period that starts five (5) weekdays prior to the first official day of practice of each calendar year.

2.62 The GHSA shall provide rules and regulations for competition among member schools for those competitive activities listed in the GHSA Constitution and By-Laws.

  1. Member schools may be allowed to schedule and play GISA and GAPPS (formerly GICAA) member schools provided the principal or athletic director of each agrees in writing, utilizing the standard “GHSA Cross-Play Contract,” available on the GHSA web site (
    1. GISA and GAPPS schools competing with GHSA schools must comply with all GHSA safety rules and requirements, and must be in compliance with Official Code of Georgia Sections 20-2-319.2 relating to pre-participation physical exams and 20-2-324.1 relating to concussion management protocols.
    2. Participants must be in compliance with all eligibility rules of their respective associations.
    3. Such competition shall not be counted nor the results considered toward GHSA post-season competition. (Exception: results can be counted when teams are using a Rating Formula to seed playoff qualification).
  2. In situations not covered by section (a), member schools shall compete, practice or scrimmage only against other member schools or against schools that are full members of the State Association in their respective states (NOTE: Football games may be scheduled only if the opponent is a full member, without restrictions, of its state athletic association). When competing internationally, member schools may compete only against school teams in that nation that are composed of students of similar ages. International exhibition competitions or scrimmages are not allowed. NOTE: When member schools compete out of state, the host state’s adaptations of NFHS playing rules will be enforced, and all GHSA by-laws regarding sportsmanship, eligibility and game times will be enforced.
  3. Member schools are permitted to compete against non-member schools in activities not listed in the GHSA Constitution and By-Laws.
  4. The GHSA Executive Director has the authority to approve competition between GHSA schools and private schools from states in which membership in the State Association is not allowed. These non-member schools must meet or exceed the State Association standards in order to compete with GHSA schools.
  5. A member school shall have no more than one varsity, one junior varsity, and one 9th grade team.
    1. Any sub-varsity team is limited to a maximum number of games equal to 70% of the varsity allotment in that sport. EXCEPTION: New schools that have only 9th and 10 grades with JV teams only (no varsity) are allowed to play the number of games allowed for varsity teams.
    2. Competition between sub-varsity and varsity teams and/or individuals at the same event is prohibited. An exception may be made by the Executive Director for schools just opening and for schools just starting a particular sport.
    3. In the sports of Cross Country, Golf, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field and Wrestling, a school may use a “split squad” at two regular season events on the same day at the varsity or sub-varsity levels. Both of the contests must be counted against the total number of contests allowed in that sport (Exception: Golf – see Golf section). Individual players may not exceed the total number of contests allowed at the varsity level of that sport.
    4. Unattached Competitor: Individual athletes may participate in non-GHSA events in the sports of Cross Country, Golf, Gymnastics, Riflery, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Wrestling as long as they do not represent their school, do not wear the school uniform, and are not coached at the event, or transported to the event, by their high school coach. “House teams” made up of athletes from various schools competing in a GHSA event are not considered to be unattached competitors and are illegal.
    5. No athlete will be allowed to compete in a GHSA game or contest (even in post-season play) unless accompanied by certified professional school personnel whose names have been submitted to the GHSA as coaches. Those students chaperoned by someone other than a certified professional will not be allowed to compete.
    6. In any GHSA sport, there may be no “open” competitions or exhibition performances that extend participation beyond the three levels of competition (i.e., varsity, JV, 9th grade) mandated in this by-law. The only interscholastic contests in which results are disregarded are scrimmages as defined below.
    7. Drones shall not be permitted to fly during any GHSA sanctioned contest. Note: This prohibition begins when the gates or doors open and extends until the last spectator has left the field or arena.
    8. Live Animals are prohibited at any indoor GHSA event unless a signed permission letter is acquired from the principal of the school wishing to bring the animal and the principal of the host school (if different). A copy of this letter must be provided to the GHSA office. NOTE: This by-law does not pertain to certified service animals
  6. One interscholastic scrimmage (two teams meeting head-to-head) is allowed in the sports of Baseball, Basketball, Football, Flag Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball and Wrestling (tri match allowed on days preceding school or quad match on days not preceding a school day).
    1. This scrimmage may be scheduled anytime between the beginning of practice as set by the GHSA and the first regular season game for each team.
    2. This scrimmage is for varsity teams only, and shall be played with normal timing and/or scoring rules except as noted in individual sports sections.
    3. Officials registered with GHSA must be assigned, and the GHSA “Fee Chart” must be followed.
    4. A school may not scrimmage another school that is counting the scrimmage as a regular-season contest.
  7. All competitions in sports utilizing a Ratings Formula to seed post-season qualification MUST be played to completion with a winner and a loser being determined.

2.63 Written contracts are required for all baseball, football, basketball, wrestling and fastpitch softball contests, and are strongly recommended in all other interscholastic contests that are scheduled between member schools.

  1. Contract forms can be found on the GHSA web site.
  2. Contracts are also recommended for all sub-varsity contests.
  3. GHSA-member schools are expected to fulfill the conditions of any game contract that has been properly executed.
    1. Exceptions to the contract may be made with the agreement and consent of both schools.
    2. Member schools that fail to fulfill the requirements of a scheduled event may be required to make restitution to the competing school if that school is unable to secure an opponent (This includes multi-school events). The offended school shall petition the Executive Director for the desired restitution.
    3. Schools failing to fulfill a game contract may be suspended in that sport for one (1) full calendar year or the corresponding date of the next calendar year, whichever is greater.
    4. EXCEPTION: The GHSA Executive Director may excuse the failure to fulfill a game contract if, in his opinion, the circumstances causing the failure were outside the control of the school officials.
  4. All athletic events hosted by GHSA-member schools (except Cross Country, Golf, Riflery, Tennis and Track) shall be officiated at all levels of competition by officials who are members of associations that are approved by the GHSA. (Exception: situation noted in By-Law 2.95).
    1. Officials’ associations and their assigned schools shall include the method of payment in their contract.
    2. It is recommended that the same number of officials be used in regular-season competitions as the number used in playoff competitions in that sport.
  5. Forfeiture and Restitution Policy
    1. If a team does not arrive at the game site for any contest without notifying the host opponent of a late arrival, that contest will be forfeited 30 minutes after the scheduled game-time. If the second game or contest was to be played by a different team (EXAMPLE: girl/boy or JV/varsity combination events), then a decision to forfeit that game will be made 30 minutes after the scheduled beginning of the second game.
    2. If there are to be multiple games by the same team and the team does not arrive at the game site without notifying the host opponent of a late arrival, all games will be forfeited 30 minutes after the scheduled game-time of the first contest. EXAMPLE: softball or baseball doubleheaders
    3. If a school fails to show up for a game or cancels a game within twenty-four (24) hours of the scheduled starting time without an emergency condition or weather-related conditions, that school shall pay a forfeiture fee to the host school equivalent to the cost of the officials. NOTE: If the host school is the violating team, the fee will be paid directly to the officials association. The host school shall reimburse the visiting team(s) for mileage incurred by the visiting team(s) when this by-law is violated by the host team).
    4. If a school fails to show up for a game or cancels within twenty-four (24) hours of the scheduled game time without emergency reasons or weather-related reasons for a second time, that school must make restitution again and must show cause to the GHSA Executive Director as to why they should not be placed on probation by the GHSA.
  6. The minimum penalty for allowing an ineligible athlete to participate in an interscholastic contest is forfeiture of the game(s). Fines or other penalties may also be imposed. NOTE: If it is determined by the Executive Director that the school has exercised every reasonable precaution and has been deceived regarding the student’s data, any or all penalties may be set aside.
  7. A team shall forfeit any team standing or points toward team honors when an ineligible student participates in a contest. In sports where individual titles may be won (Cross Country, Literary, Riflery, Swimming & Diving, Traditional Wrestling, Gymnastics, Golf and Track), eligible individuals will keep their placements and opportunities to advance toward individual honors even if a teammate participated while ineligible.

2.64 Tournaments or multiple-meets, other than the Region or State elimination series must be approved (sanctioned) by the GHSA Executive Director, subject to the special conditions for athletics and/or other activities.

  1. A GHSA-member school shall not enter a tournament which requires sanctioning until that tournament has been approved by the GHSA Executive Director.
    1. The GHSA Executive Director may assess a fine and/or other penalties against a member school that violates the sanctioning rules.
    2. Member state championship teams receiving an invitation to nationally-recognized tournaments held after the designated sports season has ended must apply to the Executive Director for approval. Such application must be signed by the principal of the school, must be submitted at least 14 calendar days prior to the beginning of the tournament and must include the following: contact information for the tournament organizer; proposed plans for the school to include manner and date of travel; number of hours of instruction to be missed and fees to participate. A decision not to approve may be appealed to the GHSA Board of Trustees, who shall review the information submitted to the Executive Director. No additional information or documentation shall be considered. The vote of the majority of the Trustees shall control.
    3. Tournament participation limits are set for each sport, and they are listed in the specific sport sections in this document.
  2. All applications for sanctioning must be submitted to the GHSA thirty calendar (30) days prior to the tournament by a GHSA-member school.
    NOTE: Tournaments that require National Federation sanctioning are an exception to this rule.
  3. The host school for all sanctioned tournaments shall pay five percent (5%) of all gross gate receipts to the GHSA within fourteen (14) calendar days after the tournament.
    1. Total gate receipts before expenses are paid equals the gross receipts.
    2. A financial report of the event shall accompany the payment.
  4. GHSA approval for tournaments in contiguous states is needed when there are four or more schools participating.
  5. Approval for tournaments in Georgia is needed when:
    1. it is a tournament involving four or more schools OR
    2. it is a tournament in which awards are given.
  6. Tournaments that require approval from the National Federation are:
    1. any interstate tournament in which more than eight schools participate, and at least one participant is from a non-contiguous state OR
    2. any interstate tournament that involves schools from five (5) or more state High School Associations, and at least one of them does not border on the State of the sponsoring school OR
    3. any international tournament (except competition with Canadian and Mexican high schools) OR
    4. any interstate tournament involving two (2) or more schools which is co-sponsored by or titled in the name of an organization outside the high school community (e.g., a university, a theme park, an athletic company).
  7. The GHSA Executive Director has the authority to approve competition between GHSA schools and private schools from states in which membership in the State Association is not allowed. These non-member schools must meet or exceed the State Association standards in order to compete with GHSA schools.
  8. In all sports except Football, a team (subvarsity or varsity) may play multiple games on a single calendar day in a tournament setting. NOTE: In these instances, the special “quarter/half participation rules” in basketball and soccer are waived. When playing multiple games in a single day in Basketball, Soccer and Lacrosse, there must be at least a four (4) hour scheduling interval between games.
  9. For any one-day event in which more than two schools compete (i.e., a basketball showcase or some similar event), the following stipulations are in effect:
    1. A “host school” must be designated for each game even if the games are played at neutral sites.
    2. The host school must provide a Game Manager for that game.
    3. The host school must schedule game officials through the local association assigned to it.
    4. These special events will require sanctioning approval from the GHSA office.

2.65 Available Seating: Member schools shall provide a seat for each ticket sold to any contest regulated by the GHSA.

  1. An available seat is defined as twenty-four (24) inches in width.
  2. Each school is required to make a determination of the available seats prior to the beginning of the contest.
  3. At outdoor events, “standing room” tickets may be sold as long as they are identified as such at the time of the purchase, and as long as there are no problems with safety and security with such an arrangement.

2.66 Weekday Contests:

  1. Teams playing any regular season contest when there are classes the next day shall be limited to a travel distance of no more than 100 miles one way as determined using the maps program at
  2. No contest shall be played beyond 11:30 p.m., unless exempted under By-Law 2.93 (c2b) or by procedures found in sections of the by-laws dealing with specific sports. A petition may by filed with the Executive Director to waive the 11:30 p.m., curfew for teams of different classifications or competitions with out-of-state teams when there are special circumstances.

2.67 Practice Policy for Heat and Humidity:

  1. Schools must follow the statewide policy for conducting practices and voluntary conditioning workouts (this policy is year-round, including during the summer) in all sports during times of extremely high heat and/or humidity that will be signed by each head coach at the beginning of each season and distributed to all players and their parents or guardians. The policy shall follow modified guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine in regard to:
    1. The scheduling of practices at various heat/humidity levels.
    2. The ratio of workout time to time allotted for rest and hydration at various heat/humidity levels.
    3. The heat/humidity levels that will result in practice being terminated.
  2. Football Only: Acclimatization and Re-Acclimatization (prior to October 1st)
    1. Acclimatization
      1. Football practice may begin five consecutive weekdays prior to the start date for football.
        1. In the first five days of practice for any student, the practice may not last longer than two (2) hours, and the student may wear no other protective football equipment except helmet and mouthpieces. NOTE:
          1. The time for a session shall be measured from the time the players report to the practice or workout area until they leave that area.
          2. During acclimatization practices, teams may hold a walk-through as long as there is at least a three-hour break between the two activities.
    2. Re-Acclimatization – Required for any athlete who misses five (5) consecutive days of practice for any reason.
      1. Day 1: 1.5 hours conditioning - helmets only
      2. Day 2: 2 hours practice - helmets only
      3. Day 3: 2.5 hours practice with helmets and shoulder pads
      4. Day 4: 2.5 hours practice with full pads
      5. Day 5: 2.5 hours practice with full pads or play a game
  3. A scientifically-approved instrument that measures the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature must be utilized at each practice (prior to October 1) to ensure that the written policy is being followed properly. WBGT readings should be taken at a minimum of every 30 minutes, beginning 30 minutes prior to the start of practice. All WBGT monitors shall be calibrated, at a minimum, every two (2) years or earlier if recommended by the manufacturer.
    Under 82.0 Normal Activities - Provide at least three separate rest breaks each hour with a minimum duration of 3 minutes each during the workout.
    82.0 - 86.9 Use discretion for intense or prolonged exercise; watch at-risk players carefully. Provide at least three separate rest breaks each hour with a minimum duration of 4 minutes each.
    87.0 - 89.9 Maximum practice time is 2 hours. For Football: players are restricted to helmet, shoulder pads, and shorts during practice, and all protective equipment must be removed during conditioning activities. If the WBGT rises to this level during practice, players may continue to work out wearing football pants without changing to shorts. For All Sports: Provide at least four separate rest breaks each hour with a minimum duration of 4 minutes each.
    90.0 - 92.0 Maximum practice time is 1 hour. For Football: no protective equipment may be worn during practice, and there may be no conditioning activities. For All Sports: There must be 20 minutes of rest breaks distributed throughout the hour of practice.
    Over 92.0 No outdoor workouts. If practice has not started, delay the start of practice until a cooler WBGT level is reached.
  4. Practices are defined as: the period of time that a participant engages in a coach-supervised, school approved sport or conditioning-related activity. Practices are timed from the time the players report to the practice or workout area until players leave that area. If a practice is interrupted for a weather-related reason, the “clock” on that practice will stop and will begin again when the practice resumes.
  5. Conditioning activities include such things as weight training, wind-sprints, timed runs for distance, etc., and may be a part of the practice time or included in “voluntary workouts.” Conditioning activities are not permitted to be used as punishment.
  6. A walk-through is not a part of the practice time regulation, and may last no longer than one hour. This activity may not include conditioning activities or contact drills. No protective equipment may be worn during a walk-through, and no full-speed drills may be held.
  7. Rest breaks may not be combined with any other type of activity and players must be given unlimited access to hydration. These breaks must be held in a “cool zone” where players are out of direct sunlight.
  8. When the WBGT reading is over 86, ice towels and spray bottles filled with ice water should be available at the "cool zone" to aid the cooling process AND cold immersion tubs must be available for the benefit of any player showing early signs of heat illness. In the event of a serious EHI, the principle of “Cool First, Transport Second” should be utilized and implemented by the first medical provider onsite until cooling is completed (core temperature of 103 or less).

2.68 GHSA Concussion Policy and SB 60, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act

  1. GHSA Concussion Policy: In accordance with Georgia law and national playing rules published by the NFHS, any athlete or game official who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be immediately removed from the practice or contest and shall not return to play until an appropriate health care professional has determined that no concussion has occurred. (NOTE: An appropriate health care professional may include: licensed physician (MD/DO) or another licensed individual under the supervision of a licensed physician, such as a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or certified athletic trainer who has received training in concussion evaluation and management).
    1. No athlete or game official is allowed to return to a game or practice on the same day that a concussion (1) has been diagnosed OR (2) cannot be ruled out.
    2. Any athlete diagnosed with a concussion shall be cleared medically by an appropriate health care professional prior to resuming participation in any future practice or contest. The formulation of a gradual return to play protocol shall be a part of the medical clearance.
    3. Any athlete who has been diagnosed with a concussion must fully return to school (if in session) for a full day prior to returning to practice.
    4. Each school will be responsible for monitoring the participation of its coaches in the concussion management course, and shall keep a record of those who participate.
    5. Each school must distribute to every athlete and his/her parent/guardian an information sheet that includes: the dangers of concussion injuries, the signs/symptoms of concussion, and the concussion management protocol outlined in this by-law. This sheet must be signed by the parent/guardian of each athlete and a copy kept on file at the school.
  2. Any student-athlete who has sustained and has been diagnosed with a traumatic head injury (concussion), must follow a minimum of a 5-step return-to-play protocol. Recommendation for this RTP is based on an athlete completing the following return-to-sport strategy once they have become “symptom free” as determined by an appropriate healthcare professional. A minimum of 24-48 hours of both physical and cognitive rest must take place once the diagnosis is made:
    Level 1: Activity – “activities of daily living” that do not cause symptoms to re-occur (gradual return to school)
    Level 2: Activity – Light aerobic activity such as walking or stationary bicycle (at a low pace with no resistance)
    Level 3: Activity - Running drills, sport-specific activity without head impact
    Level 4: Activity – Intensity of training drills may be increased. Limited practice with non-contact drills. Progressive resistance training may begin.
    Level 5: Activity – Full medical clearance by a healthcare professional, unrestricted training activities including contact drills may begin
    Level 6: Activity – Unrestricted participation to sport
    A minimum of 24 hours must take place before progression to the next level.
  3. SB 60, Jeremy Nelson and Nick Blakely Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act: In accordance with Georgia law:
    1. Each school must distribute to every athlete and his/her parent/guardian an information sheet that includes: the Early Warning Signs, How to Recognize Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and Learn Hands- Only CPR outlined in this by-law. This sheet must be signed by the parent/guardian of each athlete, each athlete and a copy kept on file at the school.
    2. Each school must hold an informational meeting twice per year regarding the symptoms and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest. At such informational meeting, an information sheet on sudden cardiac arrest symptoms and warning signs shall be provided to each student’s parent or guardian. In addition to students, parents or guardians, coaches, and other school officials, such informational meetings may include physicians, pediatric cardiologists, and athletic trainers.

2.69 Legal practice dates are established for each activity (see the calendar at the beginning of this publication), and schools shall not conduct or allow an illegal practice.

  1. The beginning of each GHSA school year is designated as August 1st. The end of the GHSA school year is designated as when an individual school ends its classes in the Spring.
  2. Illegal practices are defined as practices involving five or more students participating in any extracurricular activity in the presence of, or under the direct or indirect supervision of any coach of the school (including a community coach). At any given point in time, only one (1) coach in a sport may work with up to four (4) athletes in skill-building drills.
    1. Any practice occurring after the beginning of the school year and before the opening of the designated season is an illegal practice.
    2. Any practice occurring after the end of the season for that team and before the end of the school year for students in that school is an illegal practice.
    3. During the summer (i.e., between the ending of one school year and the beginning of the next) the only restrictions on practices and competition are that all activities must be strictly voluntary, and two (2) “Dead Weeks” must be observed, as follows: Schools are prohibited from participating in voluntary workouts, camps and/or clinics, weight training or competitions during the week (Monday through Sunday) beginning with Memorial Day in May, AND the week (Monday through Sunday) in which the Fourth of July falls each year.
    4. It is illegal for a team to go to a competitive or instructional camp or clinic during the school year.
      1. If the event is held out of season, it would constitute an illegal practice.
      2. If the event is held in-season, it would involve illegal coaching.
      3. Boys and girls teams in the same sport are considered the same activity.
      4. This prohibition does not apply to the summer months.
    5. Neither coaches, former coaches (including community coaches), nor any other school personnel shall suggest, require, or otherwise attempt to influence students to participate in or practice for a sport outside the GHSA-designated season. (NOTE: This would prohibit requiring any student to participate in one sport in order to be allowed to try-out and/or play another sport at his school).
    6. The following activities are examples of illegal practices:
      1. interscholastic scrimmages or practice competitions not in compliance with By-Law 2.62e;
      2. practices involving alumni or students who presently are not eligible at the member school at any time in the school year;
      3. practices against a non-school team at any time in the school year;
      4. practices of any kind outside the season designated by the GHSA.
        NOTE: Free Style and Greco-Roman Wrestling are considered to be the same sport as Folk Style (high school) Wrestling and are subject to GHSA rules regulating illegal practices.
    7. Coaches are allowed to be spectators (in the stands) or “fellow competitors” at non-school events out of season as long as no coaching occurs.
    8. Schools found guilty of having illegal practices will be subject to penalties that may include a fine, warning, probation, and/or suspension by the GHSA Executive Director.
  3. A GHSA coach (certified teacher or community coach) may not coach a non-GHSA team in a competitive setting during the school year that includes any player(s) who participate in the sport he/she coaches at the member school. EXCEPTION: In a situation in which the child or step-child of the coach is the only player on a non-school team from the coach’s school, the coach would be exempted from this rule.


2.71 GHSA-member schools are required to conduct all relationships with other schools in a spirit of good sportsmanship.

  1. It shall be the responsibility of a member school to use every means at its disposal to impress upon faculty, students, team members, coaches, and spectators the values of sportsmanship in preparation for the management of interscholastic contests. Contest officials have the authority to have any and all individuals removed from the confines of the contest whose behavior has become a distraction and/or hindrance to the administration of the event. This may include, but is not limited to, verbal and visual gestures.
  2. The Executive Director shall have the authority to assess penalties against schools and/or coaches for conduct unbecoming a professional educator or coach committed by coaches or other school personnel at GHSA events. Penalties against schools may include fines, probation or suspensions; and penalties against coaches and other school personnel may include suspension from GHSA events.
  3. It shall be the responsibility of the home or host school to take the following precautions at all interscholastic athletic events
    1. Take proper steps and precautions to insure crowd and spectator control, including having an administrator (or designee) from the host school to function as “Game Manager” at all GHSA sanctioned events. EXCEPTIONS: Golf and Tennis.
    2. Take steps to insure the comfort and security of all players, coaches, and officials.
    3. Have in place sufficient security personnel to handle any crowd-control problems that might reasonably be expected.
    4. Security escorts must be provided to game officials by the host school at all GHSA sanctioned contests, before, during and following the contest - including to their vehicles.
    5. Provide a safe and secure changing area for contest officials, free from traffic by school staff, students and spectators.
  4. Each school must develop a plan to handle fight situations that may occur during an athletic contest.
    1. Attention must be given to keeping substitutes in the bench areas throughout the fight, and to keeping spectators away from the competitive area.
    2. Schools whose substitutes leave the bench area to go to the area of a fight will be fined by the GHSA Executive Director.
    3. All players who are involved in a fight and any substitutes who leave the bench area during a fight or potential fight and are ejected from the current contest, will be subject to the sit-out rule.
    4. The GHSA office may review film to determine participants in a fight situation, or to determine athletes leaving their bench to go to a fight, or to verify the correct number worn by a player in either of these situations. Note: penalties may then be levied, modified or changed based on this film review.
  5. Players and coaches are expected to exhibit good sportsmanship before, during and after a contest, even if the game officials do not have jurisdiction. Behaviors such as taunting, fighting, etc., are forbidden.
  6. No coach may remove his/her team from competition before the end of the contest unless it is done in accordance with the playing rules of that sport.

2.72 Any player, coach, or team attendant who is ejected from a GHSA contest shall be suspended from all levels of competition (i.e., varsity or sub-varsity) in any sport or activity (regular season or playoffs) until the period of suspension has expired. NOTE: Ejection penalties must be served at the next contest regardless of whether or not the school has received notice from the GHSA office by that time.

  1. Ejections are based on judgment calls by a contest official and are not reviewable or reversible.
  2. A coach shall have no role nor be in attendance at pre-contest warm-ups or activities, and shall not be in uniform in attendance at contests until the period of suspension has expired.
  3. A player or team attendant may not be on the competitive area nor in the team bench area during any contest until the period of suspension has expired, but is allowed to participate (not in uniform) in Senior Night recognition.
  4. The period of suspension resulting from an ejection will expire as follows:
    1. Football: after the individual has been withheld from the next-scheduled game at the level at which the ejection occurred (and all contests at any other level).
    2. Soccer:
      1. One-Game Sit-out:
        1. Two yellow cards in the same game
        2. Deliberate handball to prevent a goal
        3. Red card for a foul on a player moving toward his goal in a scoring situation
      2. Two-Game Sit-out with Red Card for any of the following: taunting, violent conduct, serious foul play, spitting on another person, foul or abusive language, leaving the bench area for a fight situation.
    3. Lacrosse players who are ejected or foul out will sit out as follows:
      1. BOYS: Any player who fouls out for the accumulation of personal foul penalty time will sit out the next scheduled game. Any player or coach ejected for unsporting behavior or violent conduct will sit out the next two games.
      2. GIRLS: Any player receiving a second yellow card is suspended from further participation in the game. She must leave the field and enter the penalty area for two minutes of elapsed playing time and no substitute may take her place during that two-minute period. Any player or coach given a red card for unsporting behavior or violent conduct will sit out two (2) games.
    4. Track and Field: after the individual has been withheld from the next scheduled contest. NOTE: All allegations of unsporting behavior must be referred to the “Jury of Appeals” for a final resolution on disqualification. A report must be submitted to the GHSA office in the event of a disqualification.
    5. All Other Activities: after the individual has been withheld from the next two (2) scheduled contests at the level at which the ejection occurred.
  5. To satisfy the penalty of the sit-out game(s), those games must have been scheduled at the time of the ejection, and must be played to completion.
  6. Penalties for ejections of a coach or player for unsporting acts shall be:
    1. First Ejection: Coach - $250.00 fine plus penalties as per each sport’s by-laws. Player: Completion of the “NFHS Sportsmanship Course” online plus penalties as per each sport’s by-laws.
    2. Second Ejection: Coach - $500.00 fine plus penalties as per each sport’s by-laws; and suspension until completion of the “NFHS Sportsmanship Course” online. Player: $200 fine plus penalties as per each sport’s by-laws. NOTE: When a player, coach or team attendant has a second ejection in the same activity during a school year, that individual shall be withheld from competition for twice the time period of a normal suspension.
    3. Third Ejection: Coach - Season suspension plus penalties as per each sport’s by-laws; can not coach in any activity at any GHSA member school until successful completion of “GHSA Principles for Coaching.” Player: Season suspension plus penalties as per each sport’s by-laws.
    4. The Executive Director shall have the authority to levy additional penalties for repeat offenders.
    5. Penalties imposed by the GHSA Executive Director may be appealed as described under Section 9 of Article IV, in the GHSA Constitution.
  7. If the ejection occurs in the last game of a season, the penalty carries over to the first game of the next sport in which the student or coach participates (even if the ejectee transfers schools).
  8. When a player or coach is ejected from a pre-season scrimmage (i.e., a practice game) in any sport, the school shall be fined a minimum of $250 and there will be no sit-out penalties imposed.
  9. Game Incident Reports are due within 24 hours of the contest, and are to be submitted via the GHSA electronic reporting program.

2.73 Any student or coach who intentionally injures, intentionally attempts to injure, or confronts physically another student, coach, official, spectator, or other person immediately before, during, or immediately after any GHSA-sponsored activity, may be fined (coach) or declared ineligible to participate in future GHSA activities by the GHSA Executive Director. NOTE: The notice, hearing, and appellate procedures set forth in the GHSA Constitution shall be applicable to such rulings.

2.74 Coaches, administrators, contest officials or players are not to make comments in the media or on any form of social media that are critical of officials and/or their calls in a game. Penalties that could be imposed by the GHSA Executive Director include fines and/or suspensions.

2.75 The use of fireworks at any GHSA-approved event shall be in strict compliance with the licensing and application procedures of Georgia law and under permit of the probate court in which the event is held.

2.76 Artificial noisemakers are allowed at outdoor events with the exception of air horns, whistles, or other similar devices that simulate the sounds of clock horns or officials’ whistles. At any time that a national playing rule prohibits artificial noisemakers in a sport, that rule will supercede this by-law.

2.77 The officials’ dressing area is “off limits” to school staff, students and spectators one hour prior to game time, during the duration of the contest, and until the contest officials depart the facility.

2.78 Unsporting acts committed by players or coaches will be handled as follows:

  1. If the inappropriate behavior occurs after the expiration of a contest, but while the officials still have jurisdiction as referenced in the NFHS rule book, the official may eject the player or coach and published penalties for ejections will apply.
  2. If the inappropriate behavior occurs after the officials’ jurisdiction has ended, but the official(s) witness the behavior, a Game Report shall be filed with the GHSA office and administrative penalties will be assessed against the school of the guilty parties by the Executive Director.
  3. In the case of repeat offenders of unsporting acts, the Executive Director will be authorized to levy penalties against the school of the guilty parties regardless of whether or not an ejection has occurred.


2.81 The host or home school has the right to determine whether or not its regular-season activities may be broadcast, televised, webcast, taped, filmed or photographed for any “commercial” or scouting purposes.

  1. Either school involved in the event shall have the right to video tape the event and to copy said tape, but no third party shall have that right, not even the videographer.
  2. A visiting school desiring to bring broadcasting personnel must obtain permission to do so from the host school prior to the date of the activity or contest.
  3. The host school must execute a written contract with the broadcast entity that complies with the GHSA rules and regulations for broadcasting.

2.82 The region has the right to determine whether or not region tournament (post regular-season) events may be broadcast, televised, webcast, tape recorded, filmed or photographed for any “commercial” purposes.

  1. The region should set and assess any fees charged for broadcasting or telecasting region tournament contests or events.
  2. The region must execute a written contract with the broadcast entity that complies with the GHSA rules and regulations for broadcasting.

2.83 The GHSA rules and regulations for Regular Season and Region Tournament broadcasting are as follows:

  1. The host school shall have the right to approve the amount of space used and the placement of broadcast equipment.
  2. The host school (for regular-season events), or the region (for region tournaments) shall be entitled to all revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights unless the contract specifies otherwise.
  3. Advertising utilized during the broadcast shall not include alcohol or tobacco products.
  4. Commercial announcements shall not occur during playing time.
  5. Announcers shall not criticize coaches, officials, or schools, and shall be fair and impartial in their descriptions.
  6. The copyright privileges for Regular-Season events belong to and shall remain the property of the host school.
  7. The copyright privileges for Region Tournament events belong to and shall remain the property of the region.

2.84 GHSA Media rules and regulations for State Playoff events:

  1. Broadcast rights and copyright privileges to all state playoff events (i.e., after region winners have been determined) belong to the Georgia High School Association, and the GHSA has the right to determine if any of these events may be broadcast, televised, webcast, tape recorded, filmed or photographed for any purposes. NOTE: Participating schools may NOT sell tapes of state playoff events or provide copies of tapes to third parties for resale without written consent from the GHSA office.
  2. The GHSA shall grant media access at all state playoff events to properly identified representatives of newspapers, radio stations (with broadcast contract) and television outlets ONLY. Proper identification is interpreted to mean an identification card given by the media outlet, or written documentation on the letterhead of the media outlet specifying that the bearer is working for that outlet at the GHSA event.
  3. Any media entity wishing to broadcast or telecast (including Internet reproduction) any state playoff event must execute a written contract with the GHSA for that event. Contact the GHSA office for a contract, which shall contain specific rules and requirements.
  4. Advertising utilized during a broadcast shall not include alcohol or tobacco products.
  5. Announcers shall not criticize coaches, officials, or schools, and shall be fair and impartial in their descriptions.
  6. Broadcast fees are listed in a chart that follows. The fees are “per event” except for football, basketball and soccer, which are per game. NOTE: a baseball playoff series is one event; a softball tournament is one event.
  7. Television and Video Webcast rights and fees must be negotiated with the GHSA office on a case-by-case basis, except for those stations or schools having long-term contracts with the GHSA.
  8. Video production for authorized school “coach’s shows” are exempt from these rules and fees. However, schools may only tape, photograph or film events in which their team is participating.
  9. NFHS Network is the exclusive post-season video streaming platform of the GHSA. Members of the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program (SBP) do not pay rights fees for post-season playoffs. Non-SBP schools can request to carry a playoff contest subject to GHSA rights fees & NFHS Network schedule. Request should be sent to Steve Figueroa at For more information on joining the School Broadcast Program ( contact Matt Abramson at

2.85 Radio, Audio Internet Broadcast Fees for State Playoff events: Fees are based on the size of the market. Levels are determined as follows - Level 3 = 50,000 population and higher; Level 2 = 25,000 to 49,999; Level
1 = Under 25,000 population. Fees for each level are listed below. NOTE: These fees are for radio and audio only Internet webcasts.

Market Size Football Basketball Baseball/Softball Other Events
Level 3 $225/game $125/game $150/event case by case
Level 2 $175/game $100/game $100/event case by case
Level 1 $125/game $75/game $75/event case by case


2.86 Television stations or other broadcast entities shall have the right to film portions of GHSA state playoff events in order to air selected highlights in any bona fide newscast. “Bona fide newscast” is defined as a half-hour or hour program that is regularly scheduled and includes news, weather and sports. Entertainment and commercial uses of highlights are not considered bona fide newscasts and are prohibited. Highlights may not exceed one minute per contest, or two minutes total running time in any single newscast without the consent of the GHSA. Highlights may be used, subject to the above guidelines, up to 72 hours after the event.
NOTE: Members of the working press shall be allowed to use digital video cameras at GHSA state playoff events as long as such cameras are being used to obtain still images or video highlights as defined in this By-Law. Site administration shall have the authority to prevent use of such video equipment if it is determined that a video tape of a substantial portion of the event is being made.

2.87 FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY: Flash photography is prohibited at all indoor GHSA state playoff events unless permission is obtained from the GHSA office on a case-by-case basis. Flash photography at outdoor GHSA state playoff events is at the discretion of the onsite game officials.

2.88 Parents and/or fans connected with a member school will be allowed to use video or still cameras from the stands to tape or photograph GHSA state playoff events in which that member school is participating under the following conditions (EXCEPTION: One Act Play, Literary and Cheerleading restrictions remain in place):

  1. The cameras must be hand-held and their use cannot interfere with another fan’s view of the event. Site administrators shall have the authority to halt photography if, in their opinion, this rule is being violated.
  2. The tapes/photos must be for personal use only and cannot be used for scouting purposes, given to other schools for scouting purposes, used for any commercial/business purpose, or sold for profit. Violation of this rule by a member school will result in penalties from the Executive Director including a fine.
  3. Anyone else filming or photographing GHSA state playoff events for any purposes must have approval of the Executive Director.


2.91 Sunday Competition: Sunday competition is prohibited for GHSA regular season or playoff contests. Sunday practices are regulated by local school policy.

2.92 Contest Rules: All athletic and literary competitions are to be played according to the rules published by the National Federation of State High School Associations, using officially-dressed officials who are registered with the GHSA and assigned to specific member schools by the GHSA office.

  1. EXCEPTION: Tennis is played according to the rules of USTA, unless specified by GHSA rules.
  2. EXCEPTION: Golf is played according to the rules of the USGA, unless specified by GHSA rules.
  3. EXCEPTION: Riflery is conducted according to the “National Standard Three-Position Air Rifle Rules.”
  4. EXCEPTION: Girls Lacrosse is conducted according to the rules of US Lacrosse.
  5. The National Federation prohibits the use of video tape to review an official’s decision.
  6. No protests are allowed in any GHSA sport or activity unless specified by NFHS rules.
  7. Judgement calls by contest officials are not reviewable or reversible.

2.93 Interrupted/Postponed Games: Any GHSA competition may be interrupted due to human, mechanical, or natural causes when it is necessary to protect the safety of players and spectators. The Executive Director shall have the authority to postpone GHSA events and to direct the procedure for rescheduling when deemed necessary.

  1. The GHSA requires the host school to provide lightning detectors at all outdoor athletic activities.
    1. When a lightning detector indicates a dangerous situation, the game manager will notify the head official. At that point, the official will suspend play and all participants and fans will go to a place of safety (NOTE: If officials spot lightning before being notified, they may suspend play).
    2. The contest may resume in accordance with procedures published in the NFHS Rules Book.
  2. Postponed games are games that are terminated before they actually begin because of weather problems, emergency situations, or mechanical failures.
    1. The host school should notify the opposing team and officials as early as possible when a contest is postponed.
    2. The host school is responsible for determining whether an event is to be postponed until the time that game rules turn that responsibility over to game officials except when there is a written contract for that game. When there is a contract, there must be an agreement between the competing schools about the postponement
    3. School personnel will agree on the rescheduling of the contest.
  3. Suspended and/or Terminated Games - When game officials suspend a game due to weather issues, the following procedures are in place:
    1. For all Baseball, Softball, Lacrosse, Soccer and JV Football contests involving teams of different classifications, there will be up to a two-hour delay (cumulative) before the contest will be terminated. (See the Baseball and Softball Sections to see the procedures involved with terminated games.)
      1. If the Lacrosse, Soccer or JV Football contest is terminated before it has reached the halfway point, the contest is declared a “no contest.”
      2. If the Lacrosse, Soccer or JV Football contest is terminated after it has reached the halfway point, the score at the point of termination is final.
    2. For Lacrosse and Soccer contests involving teams of the same classification, all contests will be played to completion. (Note: The team that is behind may choose not to resume the contest
      1. There will be no mandatory two-hour delay.
      2. The 11:30 curfew will be waived.
      3. Administrators from the competing schools may agree to postpone the contest and resume competition at the point of interruption at a later time.
      4. The team that is behind may choose not to resume the contest at a later date.
    3. All scheduled GHSA varsity football games that have been either interrupted or postponed must be played to completion. Schools must decide when completion will take place in a timely manner. The team behind in the score of an interrupted game has the option not to complete the game and the score will be recorded as it was at the point of interruption.
      1. There will be no mandatory two-hour delay.
      2. The 11:30 curfew will be waived.
    4. Golf and Tennis procedures will be dictated by USGA and USTA rules.
    5. Cross Country and Track and Field will not use the two-hour delay rule.
  4. Paying Officials in shortened/postponed games:
    1. In the event a scheduled contest cannot be started due to weather-related conditions, officials who have arrived at the contest site will be paid one-half the contest fee in addition to the travel allowance.
    2. If a game is interrupted by weather or darkness before it becomes a completed game, the officials will be paid one-half the regular game fee.
    3. If a game is an official game at the point of interruption, the officials will be paid full fees.
    4. Beyond these conditions, no officials group(s) may hold the schools responsible for weather-related postponements.

2.94 All championship contests that end in a tie will have that tie resolved by means of the procedures that are used to resolve ties in preceding rounds of the playoffs.

2.95 Absence of Officials: In the unlikely event that game officials do not arrive for a contest, both schools should agree on one of the following procedures:

  1. Delay the game until a new set of officials can arrive;
  2. Agree to play the game on another date except a Sunday;
  3. Use registered officials who might be in attendance at the contest;
  4. Use coaches or school personnel from both schools;
  5. Use formerly registered officials who might be in attendance at the contest.

2.96 All Star Teams:

  1. In accordance with state law, member schools shall not permit their teams or players to participate in “Bowl” or “All Star” games during the GHSA regular season or during GHSA playoffs. Players selected to participate in out-of-season all-star games must adhere to GHSA amateur standing rules, and to NCAA regulations regarding all-star games.
  2. The GHSA is not involved in either sanctioning All Star games or overseeing the selection process.
  3. Coaches who are going to coach their own underclass players in an all-star game must report this to the GHSA. (NOTE: All provisions of by-law 1.70 concerning recruiting and undue influence remain in effect.)

2.97 Admission Fees for State Playoff Contests are set by the GHSA and are published in the various sports sections of the by-laws or on the GHSA web site.

  1. “Babies in arms” are admitted free of charge to all events in the company of a ticket or pass holder.
  2. Digital tickets are available exclusively on GoFan (
  3. There is no admission fee for Golf, Riflery, Literary or One Act Play.
  4. College and University coaches may attend GHSA playoff contests free of charge with proper ID.

2.98 Auxiliary personnel such as ballboys/girls or batboy/girls at all State playoff games must be at least 12 years of age.

2.99 All participant uniforms rules and restrictions shall be interpreted in accordance to Georgia law. The GHSA shall not enact or enforce any participant uniforms rule which prohibits religious expression of student athletes other than the rules of particular athletic events as adopted by the National Federation of State High School Associations.