GHSA adopts Big 44, expands Class A playoffs

The Georgia High School Association added a classification and expanded the playoffs for Class A Monday at the Macon Marriott City Center. The new classification -- dubbed the Big 44 -- is for the state's largest schools. The classification will be comprised of schools in the top 10 percent of enrollment.

The Executive committee approved the new reclassification plan with a 47-10 vote.

There will now be eight classifications and state championships in some sports.

Class A, the state's smallest schools, will remain divided into public and private for playoffs. The number of teams in those state playoffs will expand, however, from 16 to 24. Between the Big 44 and Class A will be five other classifications with approximately 58 to 64 schools. There will also be an out-of-county provision applied to schools in Classes AA-AAAAA. Should any of those schools' enrollment include 3 percent or more students from outside the school's county lines, that school will be moved up one classification. Class A schools will not be forced to move up regardless of the 3 percent enrollment and no schools in Class AAAAAA will be forced to move into the Big 44.

The plan was essentially sponsored and presented by GHSA reclassification committee members Dave Hunter (Brookwood) and Earl Etheridge (Savannah). The GHSA has 454 member schools with 419 that play football. The new reclassification format will go into effect with the 2016-17 school year. Assignment to classifications will be determined in the coming months based on enrollment numbers, then geographic assignment of regions will be finalized in early 2016.


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