Whether expected or not, the high school sports landscape will look different for a few area teams when students return from summer break next year.
The Georgia High School Association released its tentative classification alignments for the 2020-22 school years on Tuesday. Based on a school’s full-time enrollment, the new divisions bring with them some extreme and not-so-extreme changes for local schools.
After eight years as a Class 5A school, Rome High is set to move up to Class 6A, which would continue its growth since it began as a 3A school after the consolidation of East Rome and West Rome in 1992.
Armuchee, meanwhile, would drop down to Class A Public. That would return the Floyd County school to the classification of schools with the smallest full-time enrollment numbers for the first time since 1999.
Other local moves include Rockmart going from Class AA to Class 3A, Calhoun jumping from Class 3A to Class 5A, and Cartersville moving up one classification to Class 5A.
Schools have until Nov. 11 to file an appeal of their reclassification to the GHSA before meeting with the organization’s reclassification committee on Nov. 12. Schools can also request to move up a classification, but not down.
Schools in Class A and Class 7A were classified based only on their enrollment numbers, because the rules adopted by the GHSA executive committee do not allow schools to be forced up into Class 7A or out of Class A because of the 2.0 multiplier placed on out of zone students.
The multiplier affected Calhoun the most out of all of the schools in the region. The city school had an enrollment number of 1,217, which would still had placed it in Class 4A. But with 264 out-of-zone students, it’s “reclassification count” went up to 1,481, putting it in the low end of Class 5A.
Rome High is listed with an enrollment of 1,914 — still in the range of Class 6A — with 171 students from outside its district. Armuchee is the Class A Public school with the biggest full-time student enrollment with 515. Its out-of-zone count of 96 would have made it eligible to stay in AA.
With the reclassification, Rome would be in the same class as former longtime rival Dalton, which was placed in 6A after the last reclassification in 2016. Carrollton, East Paulding and Paulding County, which are in Rome’s current region of 7-5A, also moved up to 6A.
A big change for Class A schools beginning in 2020-21 is the creation of eight public-school regions and eight private-school regions. This will also bring about an end to the GHSA power ranking system to pick and seed playoff teams in Class A.
Armuchee’s closest Class A foe would be Trion, with other possible region opponents being Gordon Lee, Bowdon and Mt. Zion-Carroll. The GHSA will not announce the new regions until after all of the appeals and requests to move up are heard and considered.
Reclassification is expected to be ratified by the GHSA executive committee in January.
Other programs of note scheduled to make a change include Gainesville jumping to Class 7A. Westlake is moving down and Buford moving up to Class 6A. Pace Academy would go from Class 3A to Class A Private, joining Darlington.
According to the reclassification numbers released Tuesday, Mill Creek is the GHSA school with the biggest full-time enrollment with 3,651 students. Glascock County is the smallest school that plays a region schedule in most sports with 158 students.