Copyright 2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
MACON --- The Georgia High School Association tabled discussions on constitutional amendments that would impose 10-year term limits on its 58 executive committee members and require that they be employed by a school or school system. The decision was made at the GHSA's executive committee meeting, held Monday at the Macon Marriott City Center.
The issues of term limits and employment requirements stem from SB 343, a bill that stalled in a House committee in the recent state legislative session.
The Legislature adopted a law establishing a GHSA oversight committee, which will meet with a small group from the GHSA to continue the discussions.
Outgoing GHSA executive director Dr. Ralph Swearngin said he's unsure when the committees will meet, but estimated it likely would be in late spring or early summer. Swearngin noted it hasn't been decided which executive committee members will represent the GHSA in the meetings.
New executive director Gary Phillips, who is stepping in for the retiring Swearngin, will serve as the GHSA's point person for the discussions.
"I would like for the legislators to have an awareness that the procedures we have in place are pretty good," Swearngin said. "If they have suggestions for improvement, they let us know and we implement them. I think that a lot of times, legislators hear second-hand from people who are unhappy about something and they don't always know what's going on."
Swearngin noted that from 2006-2010, the GHSA and oversight committees met three times on a variety of issues, ranging from eligibility to dead weeks. Once both parties explained their sides, the issues were resolved, he said.
Mill Creek High School athletic director Gary Long was the only executive committee member to express an opinion during Monday's meeting on the Legislature's involvement.
"What I was alluding to was the fact I wasn't sure who on the executive committee was going to be a part of the discussions with the oversight committee," Long said. "I just want to know so everyone can know who we can express our concerns and opinions with, both on the oversight level as well as the executive committee."
Long does not prefer term limits.
"If the state Legislature would like to limit its own terms, then I would be much more in favor of them mandating to other organizations a limit to terms," Long said. "So, no, I'm not in favor of limiting terms. I spoke to a state legislator about term limits and he said it takes years and years to learn the system to become an effective member of the legislative body.
"Well, the same is applicable to the executive committee."
Other highlights from Monday's meeting:
- Class A GHSA schools will be allowed to play Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) schools in sports not operating under a power rating system. GHSA sports that have a power rating system include football, basketball, baseball and softball.
- The GHSA changed the financial distribution of football championship revenue and expenses as follows: Class AAAAAA (19 percent), Class AAAAA (16.5), Class AAAA (16.5), Class AAA (15.5), Class AA (14.5) and Class A Public and Private (9). The executive committee also voted to allow football coaches to conduct coin tosses for home field status in playoff games through conference calls with the GHSA office, rather than traveling long distances for face-to-face coin tosses.
- The state basketball tournament will use the same format for its playoff brackets that are used for football, soccer and baseball, meaning teams from the northern and southern parts of the state would face off in earlier rounds.