Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Updated: GHSA doubles size of state swim meet, amends rules on spring games, coin tosses

The Georgia High School Association expanded the state swimming meet to four state championships from two on  Monday at its executive committee meeting in Macon.

The GHSA made only a couple of changes to football, but both could be seen as significant.

The association now will require that all games interrupted by weather be completed at a later date unless the losing team concedes. This past season, several games interrupted by storms before halftime were abandoned and ruled no contests while others that had reached only halftime were awarded to the team ahead in the score.

Also, spring football games, which will be new this this academic year, can be expanded next year to three-team jamborees beginning.

In a move that will make things more convenient for all sports, the GHSA voted to conduct coin tosses to pre-determine home teams in the state playoffs when both teams have the same seed.

Under the current rule, two region champions or same-seeded teams are required to have team representatives meet up and flip a coin between themselves, often very shortly after their contests are  complete. Beginning in 2017-18, the awarding of home field will be decided ahead of time by the GHSA.

Changes to the swim meet are probably the most significant in what could be termed a mild day of events.

The swim meet previously was contested in two combined groups of classes (6A-7A and 1A-5A). Beginning next academic year, state champions will be crowned in both classes 7A and 6A, plus combined classes 4A-5A and 1A-3A.

The only proposal that came out of Sunday's committee meeting that was not passed was the idea to increase the seating requirements to host basketball state tournament games. That was tabled.

Below are proposals that passed Monday:


  1. Games between Class 7A teams and any team below Class 5A will no longer count in determining the power rating for the 7A school if power ratings are needed due to a Region having fewer than five teams in 7A.
  2. During Basketball state tournament games, the designated host school shall be required to provide 50 percent of the available seating to the visiting school spectators.
  3. Member schools compelled to play at a higher classification because of special stipulations in the reclassification process may petition the Executive Director for stadium / arena seating waivers by Aug. 31 each year. A waiver would allow the school to use the smaller classification’s seating requirements in order to comply with playoff by-laws. During the 2016 season, Jefferson lost the right to host a playoff game under the previous bylaw.
  4. Revise By-Law 2.69 (b) on page 40 to read (new text in italic): At any given point in time, only one (1) coach in a sport may work with up to two (2) four (4)athletes in skill-building drills.
  5. Literary approved as an Area activity for all classifications with the Areas increasing the number of qualifiers so there is no reduction in State qualifiers.
  6. The GHSA office will conduct one (1) universal coin toss prior to the Quarterfinal Round and again prior to the Semifinal Round in all sports to determine the designated home team in ALL classifications (2A – 7A) where equal seeds are meeting in the next round. The toss would determine if the top or bottom of the bracket would be the host team (subject to other hosting requirements as specified in the GHSA by-laws for each sport).


  1. Add new item “e” (and renumber existing items) to the “Pitching Restrictions” on page 58: In games vs. non-GHSA member schools, the GHSA pitching restrictions shall be adhered to, regardless of the pitch count policy of the host school affiliation or state association. When playing out of state, it is the school’s responsibility to report the pitch count information to the GHSA office.


  1. Modify By Law 1.58 on Page 18 (items “c,” “d” & “e”) so as to eliminate the 15-day credit recovery grace period at the beginning of the first semester.
  2. Add Darlington to the list of schools (Riverside, Ben Franklin, Tallulah Falls) whose students are granted a one-time migratory waiver for eligibility upon enrollment in by-law 1.62 (L) on page 20.


  1. Added a new item “3” (and renumber existing items) under by-law 2.93 c-2 that reads “All scheduled GHSA varsity football games that have been either interrupted or postponed must be played to completion. Schools must decide when completion will take place in a timely manner. The team behind in score of an interrupted game will have the option not to complete the game and the score will be recorded as it was at the point of interruption.
  2. Beginning in 2018, the Spring Game culminating Spring Practice may be either a traditional team vs. team contest or a Jamboree type game with three teams playing a half against the other two teams.


  1. If a team has less than four (4) competitors, it forfeits the match and receives a loss. But, if both teams agree to compete anyway, the individual scores from both teams will count as GHSA official scores.


  1. Reworded Softball GENERAL INFORMATION item No. 7, page 85. The tie-breaker procedure for extra-inning games will be used. At the beginning of the eighth inning 10th inning(and all subsequent half-innings) ... Exception: In Invitational Tournament games with a “time limit” in place, the tie-breaker would start in the subsequent inning.


  1. Approved scoring the top 30 places in the finals (instead of the current 20) and awarding separate team championships for Class 6A and Class 7A and separate team championships for 1A-3A and 4A-5A for a total of four (4) swimming team champions instead of the current two (2).


  1. Approved to allow Areas the option of using the best-of-five format for regular season Area matches, if all teams in the Area agree, provided that only one Area dual match is played per day.


  1. Alternates are allowed to weigh-in and be placed on the bracket at the Sectional Tournament if a wrestler representing the same Area cannot wrestle for any reason.
  2. A wrestler in the state tournament, who cannot wrestle for any reason, can be replaced by an alternate at the time of weigh-in. NOTE: The alternate must come from the same Sectional Tournament.

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