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Americus-Sumter moves down from AAAA to AAA in GHSA reclassification

AMERICUS – As part of a statewide classification alignment for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has decided to reclassify Americus-Sumter High School (ASHS) from the AAAA level down to the AAA level. The statewide reclassifying was done by the GHSA on Tuesday, November 5.

Starting in the fall of 2020, ASHS will compete athletically at the GHSA Class AAA level. They will remain at that level through the 2021-22 school year.

According to ASHS athletic director Coleman Price, the GHSA has its member schools on a multi-year cycle. This past cycle was a four-year cycle. “Their executive committee elected to go back to a two-year cycle, so we’re at the end of the four-year. Now we’re going into a two-year cycle, “ Price said. “It just was time for reclassification.” Price went on to say that the GHSA goes through and pulls the FTE numbers from all of the public schools from the department of education. The FTE is what the GHSA uses to account for the number of students that are in a school and how that school gets their funding. The GHSA gives each school a survey to fill out. In that survey, each school has to declare whether they are a co-ed, all boys or an all girls’ school. Price went on to explain that in that survey, each school also must declare whether or not it has in its numbers students from outside the county in which that school is located. “Any students that were outside our county we had to account for and submit that to the GHSA, which they did a two multiplier on,” Price said. “Our final count number laid us in the AAA classification. We dropped based on our FTE numbers and the multiplier, so our total count got us down into that AAA area.” Price went on to say that ASHS is now sitting in the middle of the pack in AAA instead of in AAAA. According to the GHSA’s website, www.ghsa.net, some of the Panthers’ Region 1-AAAA opponents, such as Cairo, Shaw, Hardaway, Columbus and Dougherty, will remain at the AAAA level. Carver-Columbus will join ASHS at the Class AAA level next fall. Westover will move up to Class 5A and Northside-Columbus will move up to Class 6A.

As far as athletics is concerned, the Panthers will continue to compete at the AAAA level for the remainder of this current school year, but will move to the AAA level in the fall of 2020. “We’re looking at some things whether we want to stay AAA or go up to AAAA,” Price said. “Right now, the consensus is we’re going to stay AAA, which would make us more competitive across the board in all our sports. In our revenue sports, it wouldn’t have mattered. In our non-revenue sports, it will really help those programs out.”

Price went on to say that ASHS would belong to a whole new region when they begin athletic competition in the fall of 2020.

For those schools that were moved from their current classification to another, but didn’t wish to move, they had until Monday, November 11, to file an appeal to the GHSA regarding their reclassification. The appeal hearings took take place on Tuesday, November 12. “After schools go through this appeal process for which classification they’ll be set in, they can request to move up or they can appeal their multiplier, but really, any school that is set can’t appeal to come down a classification,” Price said.

He went on to say that once all that is done and finalized after Tuesday’s hearings, the GHSA would then start placing teams into regions for the 2020-21 school year. “We’ll know probably by mid December what region we’re placed in,” Price said. “Then we have the opportunity to stay in that region, or we can request a lateral move into another region based on whatever things that may come up.” Price went on to say that right now, the school is waiting to see what will happen as a result of Tuesday’s appeal hearings. By then, he believes that ASHS will have a better idea what region they will be placed in.

As for Schley County and Furlow Charter, they will remain in the Class A-Public classification. This reclassification doesn’t affect Southland Academy because that school is not a member of the GHSA.