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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Coalhulla Creek head coach Danny Wilson roams the sidelines. The Coahulla Creek Colts visited the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Warriors in a rare Tuesday night game on November 3, 2020. The GHSA has allowed many teams to reschedule games because of COVID-19.

Georgia's high school sports programs will have to wait a little longer to find out which classification and which region they will compete in after the Georgia High School Association approved a proposal by unanimous vote to return to a six-classification system. The vote took place Monday and returns the state to six classifications from the current seven-class system beginning with the 2024 school year.

The motion, brought about after the original reclassification plan caused more and more schools to face increased travel, read: "Proposal to return to six classifications while maintaining the Division 1 and Division 2 splits in Class A, for the 2024-26 school years."

One part of the original plan that is remaining is the public/private split in Class A, where the state's smallest schools will compete in one large and one small-school division. Whether more schools will be assigned to Class A will be determined when the GHSA's Reclassification Committee redraws the classes based on student enrollment numbers.

Those numbers will again be subject to a 3.0 multiplier, where out-of-district students count as three instead of one. However, those numbers are likely to change for most schools after the GHSA also unanimously approved a proposal Monday that will "exempt students who entered a feeder school of a member high school in grades K-5 from any multiplier for the 2024-26 school years."

That means the state's regions for the 2024-26 cycle, which were approved in January, could see significant change in the coming months.

"It's going to be hard to really tell how it will affect us until they classify and align the regions again," Coahulla Creek football coach Danny Wilson said. "They have to re-figure all the numbers, assign classifications and then put schools in regions."

The GHSA is facing the possibility of serious change and even complete elimination if a pair of Georgia Senate bills (328 and 334) become law. One would create a nonprofit organization appointed by the Georgia Department of Education to govern high school sports, in essence replacing the GHSA.

Though GHSA leaders believe there is little chance of the bills becoming law, the threats in all likelihood led to the changes approved today. The GHSA has not released a time frame for determining classifications and regions.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com; follow him on Twitter @youngsports22

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