Now that the classifications have been updated, the region assignments are set to come out Dec. 6. Schools will have two weeks to appeal that decision. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 28, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Nov. 28, 2011
EVANS, Ga -- Get ready high school athletes, things are about to get interesting.
Starting next school year, some high schools will be competing in new regions.
Greenbrier Athletic Director Garrett Black is on the committee that helped rework the system, adding a sixth classification.
"The Georgia High School Association is trying to fit parity with geography ... and it's not easy to do," Black said.
Concerns over travel expenses statewide started discussions to add the new level.
"It's on everybody's minds just because of the economy and gas prices and travel is a big concern," Black said.
In the past, some area schools have routinely traveled to Atlanta and even Savannah to play similar-sized schools.
"It's very tough in the pocket when you're going up I-20 every two, three times a week," Black said.
And these concerns stretch past the football field or basketball court and into the classroom.
"Factor in you're taking kids out of class and then you're putting them on the road late at night and it's just too many concerns," Black said. "It's not just an athletic issue ... this is an academic issue because any time you're talking about taking kids out of class, that is affecting academics."
Some changes will be coming to Columbia County.
Lakeside, Evans and Greenbrier will all move from AAAA to AAAAA. Grovetown will jump from AAA to AAAAA. Harlem will be the only high school dropping from AAA to AA.
"It's kinda looking that way that Greenbrier, Evans, Lakeside and Grovetown will all be in the region for the first time together," he added.
And while the new system isn't perfect, Black says it makes progress.
"You're not going to make everybody happy, but it is the best system right now. I think it is a step in the right direction," Black said.
Now that the classifications have been updated, the region assignments are set to come out Dec. 6. Schools will have two weeks to appeal that decision.
If approved, the new system will take effect next school year.