The Georgia High School Association voted in several changes during an executive committee session this week in Macon, with the most notable measure affecting how its classifications will be determined.
The GHSA will implement a 2.0 multiplier rule that counts every student who lives outside a school's attendance zone twice for the purposes of classification. The latest attempt to equal the playing field in Classes AA through AAAAAAA is likely to push some private schools and city schools up two classifications beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.
In 2016, the GHSA moved any school up one classification if more than 3% of its student population came from outside its attendance zone. The rule, now abolished, ended up affecting eight larger private schools but did not cause city schools such as Buford and Calhoun to move up.
The effect of the 2.0 rule will not be known until enrollment figures are turned in to the GHSA later this month or in early November.
In April, the GHSA approved splitting Class A into eight public and eight private school regions. In northwest Georgia, the move will affect Class A public schools Gordon Lee and Trion and private school Christian Heritage, which are currently in a very large Region 6 that has just three public schools. With the move will come the elimination of power ratings in all classes starting in 2020-21.
Also, the ruling body elected this week to change a rule that called for a coin flip to decide the home team in game three of postseason baseball and softball series. In all cases the host team in a deciding third game of a best-of-three series will be the home team, effective immediately.
In addition, basketball games will have three officials starting in 2020-21 and officials in all sports were approved for raises, likely meaning gate prices will increase across the board.
Friday night's football games will go a long way toward deciding playoff positioning among Tennessee teams locally. Of the 20 games involving Chattanooga-area programs this week, 18 are region matchups.
Among the bigger league games, Region 2-6A's Bradley Central (4-1, 2-0) needs a win over archrival Cleveland (3-2, 1-1) to maintain pace with Maryville (5-0, 2-0), where the Bears will travel next week in a battle of top-five state-ranked teams.
In Class 4A, Region 2's seeding will begin coming into better focus. Six of the seven teams are within a game of the league's top spot, with preseason favorite Anderson County (5-1, 2-0) hosting East Ridge (3-2, 0-1) and East Hamilton (3-2, 2-0) looking to keep pace atop the standings when it travels to Sequoyah (0-6, 0-2). Howard (3-2, 0-1) hosts Central (1-4, 1-1) in a game that could all but eliminate the loser from playoff consideration.
Region 3-3A is currently a top-heavy league with Loudon (6-0, 2-0), Red Bank (5-0, 2-0) and Sweetwater (4-1, 2-0) all sharing the top spot. Red Bank can set itself up for a title showdown against Loudon in the final week of the regular season with a win Friday at Sweetwater. Signal Mountain (2-4, 0-2) travels to Brainerd (0-6, 0-2) in a game likely to eliminate the loser from the playoffs.
While Tyner appears to have the 3-2A title in hand, Friday's Marion County (1-4, 1-1) at Bledsoe County (3-2, 0-1) game will likely settle who finishes second and earns a first-round home playoff game in the process.
One of the three teams still looking for its first 3-1A win this year will have its playoff hopes dashed soon. The winner of Friday's Sale Creek at Whitwell meeting will at least secure a playoff spot, while Copper Basin (5-1, 2-0), which hosts Lookout Valley, could set up a region title showdown against South Pittsburg to close the regular season with a win Friday.
With every other team in Division II-AAA East having a loss, the McCallie (6-0, 2-0) at Baylor (5-0, 2-0) winner will stand atop the region heading down the home stretch of the regular season.
In DII-AA East, while Chattanooga Christian (3-2, 2-0) is off and has a big game looming next week against Knoxville Grace (4-1, 2-0), surprising Boyd Buchanan (4-1, 1-1) will try to maintain pace at or near the top of the region when it travels to face Silverdale Baptist (1-4, 0-3).
Compiled by Lindsey Young and Stephen Hargis.