Many Exciting Changes on Tap for GHSA This School Year

The start of each school year brings much excitement and anticipation for all elements of our various educational communities. Students entering high school for the first time have a different set of anticipations and sometimes anxieties than do the veteran high school students – those juniors and seniors. Sports fans at every level (high school, college, professional) exhibit renewed enthusiasm for the fall sports that we do not see at other times of the year. The GHSA offers a large variety of sports competitions in the spring of each year, but the surge of energy, anticipation and excitement is not matched with what we see within the fall sports. It’s the renewal of the education cycle throughout our state and the hope of new athletic achievements that makes the fall portion of the school year so special.
Those of us in the GHSA sense the excitement and have that sense of renewal. The 2016-17 school year will bring change and the renewal of a number of on-going competitions and activities. Some items for your interests will include:
  • The formation of a new Executive Committee; a larger body of decision makers. The committee welcomed 24 new members to our August meeting.

  • For the “power rated sports” (football, softball, basketball, baseball) GHSA fans will see 8 championships from the 7 new classifications. Several other sports suchas tennis, cross country, golf and track also will have 8 championships.

  • The State Softball Finals will return to Columbus and the format will remain an 8-team competition in each division. Some consideration was given to a “Final Four” tournament in Columbus, but many in the GHSA preferred continuingthe tournament with 8 teams making the trip.

  • As announced earlier, the State Cross Country Meet will expand to two days this fall. All championships will be held at Carrollton High School. As in many sports, be sure to check the GHSA calendar for exact dates, locations and schedules of competitions.

  • For the first time, portions of the GHSA State Basketball Championships will be held at the University of Georgia. Other classification championships will be held at Georgia Tech for the first time since 2003. An exact schedule for these finals will be announced in late February.

  • The State Baseball Finals will move to two neutral sites for all divisions. For 2017, the games will be contested in Rome or Savannah. These sites have ample seating, parking, concessions and restrooms. Fan interests in our baseball finals continue to grow rapidly across the state. Most high school baseball facilities are not equipped to handle the crowds we have seen recently. The use of these larger venues should bring all fans a quality experience.

  • Also in the spring of 2017, we will see the return of Slow Pitch Softball. Currently, about 40 schools have indicated they will field teams. A championship tournament is being planned. Check the GHSA web site for the dates and location of the slow pitch finals.

  • The GHSA continues in its discussions with the Atlanta Falcons and holding the football championships in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Our initial tour revealed a state of the art facility with many fan friendly features. We are very excited about the championships in this tremendously wonderful facility in December, 2017. What a great show the games will be!!

Our membership continues to grow. We now have 458 member school and over 200,000 participating athletes in more than 20 sports and activities championships. We look forward to an exciting and successful 2016-17.
Gary Phillips, Executive Director