Kevin Price commentary: Local GHSA repesenative Debbie Ball votes against reclassification proposals

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comMay 11, 2011 

Debbie Ball, the Brookstone softball coach, hoped for more information before the Georgia High School Association executive committee made its decision on reclassification Tuesday, but it didn’t work out that way.

The committee voted to break Georgia’s high schools into six classifications -- currently there are five -- beginning with the 2012-13 school year. That vote, which was 26-24, came in a meeting in Macon. You can read more about it in a story elsewhere on this page.

The decision came after the committee voted down -- 35-15 -- the 4/8 plan. Under that plan, there would have been four classifications during the regular season. When postseason play started, each classification would have been divided into two, meaning there would have been eight state champions in most sports.

Ball, who is an at-large member of the executive committee, voted against both plans.

“I voted no on the 4/8 plan after talking to a lot of different people,” she said. “No one I talked to was in favor of it. I was in favor of it to begin with, but I felt like as an at-large member, I needed to talk to as many different people as I could. No one was in favor of it.”

There was also a 3/6 plan discussed, but it was not brought up for a vote. The six-classification plan was.

Ball said she voted against it because there was so little information known about how that plan would affect the schools in terms of costs and time out of class.

“No one knows what is going to happen with the changes,” Ball said. “I thought if it was voted down, it would go back to reclassification committee and they could dissect it and look at the pros and cons.”

UNC-Pembroke fans

With Francis Marion’s loss, Columbus State has become a big UNC-Pembroke fan. The Cougars need Pembroke to go ahead and win the Peach Belt Conference title to help its chances of receiving a NCAA bid.

The NCAA will announce the field for the Division II national tournament Sunday. Six teams will make it into the Southeast Regional. Three of those berths go to automatic qualifiers from the Peach Belt, the South Atlantic and the Conference of the Carolinas.

CSU was third in last week’s regional rankings, behind Mount Olive and Francis Marion. After CSU were Pembroke, Georgia College, Catawba, Armstrong Atlantic and Limestone.

Mount Olive already has won the automatic bid from the Conference of the Carolinas, while Catawba is in from the SAC.

Francis Marion, despite going 1-2 in the PBC tourney, is likely to grab one of the three at-large berths,

That will leave two spots for CSU, Georgia College, Armstrong Atlantic and Limestone.

Georgia College also went out of the PBC tournament after two straight losses. Armstrong Atlantic knocked out CSU Monday. Armstrong played Pembroke late Tuesday night.

If North Georgia or Augusta State wins the PBC automatic bid, that might spell the end of CSU’s season.

Area teams seek berths

Barring a late-season collapse, the four major college baseball teams in the area likely will receive bids to the NCAA tournament.

In the latest RPI released Tuesday, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama are in the top 31. Georgia Tech has the highest rating of any of the schools. The Jackets are ninth with a 33-14 record.

Georgia is 21st with a 25-23 with Auburn 23rd at 25-22 and Alabama is 31st at 30-20. There are two weeks left in the conference schedules for the SEC and ACC, then the conference tournaments are after that. The NCAA regionals are scheduled to begin June 3.

Kevin Price, kprice@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-320-4493.

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