Dodging Big Bullets
On Wednesday morning Dr. David Mims Crisp County Superintendent of schools and an entourage of school officials including Crisp County High Principal Dr. Rusty Sowell, Crisp Athletic Director Bill Pate and Crisp Head football Coach Shelton Felton all went to Georgia High School Association headquarters in Thomaston, Ga. The Mission to get the 5 A monkey off our back. What does that mean well let me explain. GHSA passed a new rule that says in a nut shell that if you allow students from out of county into your school system you may have to go up in classification. We will call it the 3% rule. Up to 3% of the high school population is allowed to be from out of county after that the total numbers are added to your average daily attendance to determine your population. In the case of Crisp County we stood at 6.7% or a total of 74 students from out of county.
Dr. Mims presented argument and very successfully, I might add that these students do not represent “recruiting” on behalf of Crisp County and here is why. First of all almost none of the students play any athletics. Approximately 20 are children of teachers which is allowed by State law and at least 60% of these students have been here since pre-k, which makes them our students anyway.
“ We simply stated the facts, that Crisp County is not in the Recruiting business and that we are operating as a system with in the guidelines of GHSA rules,” said Dr. Mims. “It would have been a huge injustice to have penalized Crisp County for having an open door policy to our surrounding counties on student attendance.”
We are lucky here in Crisp County that we have a good school system and other counties parents want to send their kids here.
If Dr. Mims and his staff had not acting quickly on this matter and presented cold hard facts to GHSA, then our athletic programs would have been facing schools much larger than ours and subjecting us to many years of disappointment. So thanks Dr. Mims, Dr. Sowell, Coach Pate and Coach Felton for getting right on this issue.
Now I have even better news. After dodging the .300 ultra mag bullets fired our way some how Crisp County has slipped under the radar and now very well maybe headed down to 3 A ball from 4A. The current suggested alignment would put us in a region with Worth, Monroe, Cairo, Cook and possibly Peach County to name a few. The good news in this is that we would be one of the largest AAA schools anywhere.
The new super 44 classification that is coming our way will create 7 different classifications in Georgia. It will isolate Coffee, Colquitt, Lowndes and Tift County who will play in that classification, as they are the only schools in South Georgia that size. Other schools like Valdosta and Lee County may petition to play up but that would be foolish. Lowndes County for example has (2942) students, why would subject your student athletes to that, “pride maybe”, well “pride cometh before the fall” have it. As for Crisp County schools we will know our fate for certain on December 1st, but right now things are looking real good in comparison to what they could have been. There were no projected changes in Dooly or Wilcox who play in single A.
The bottom line is this folks. I believe in playing good competition. If you beat up on the same pathetic teams time and time and time again you nor the kids get anything out of that. However, I also believe in a level playing field in all sports for all of athletes. For the first time since Crisp County dropped to region 3 AAA in 1980 we are finally moving to a level playing field and I for one couldn’t be happier. I welcome your comments.