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They just can’t get out of their own way

By Joe Joe Wright

joejoe.wright@cordeledispatch.com

Oh, and I bet some of you thought I was full of hot air! Well, maybe sometimes, but not this time. In my February 11th column entitled Cheater, I spoke about the Georgia High School Association and their reluctance to enforce rules concerning recruiting players. Well, the legislature of the State of Georgia has apparently taken up the gauntlet and is perfectly willing to end their existence. As I said back then, every time their authority is challenged they back down. This time the executive committee met and voted 5-3 to have Executive Director Gary Phillips resign. You can go online and read the Legislation. Just type in Georgia House Bill 415 and Georgia Senate Bill 203.

Now, let me go ahead and say that just because the State legislature is making this fuss doesn’t mean they will go through with it. However, the powers that be should at a minimum make certain of a few basic and absolute changes. 1. Oversight and subject to the open records act. (As of now, GHSA can pretty much tell all of us to get out of the office). 2. Don’t make rules for the benefit of a few schools. Rules must be made for all schools and enforced equally across the board period and end of discussion. 3. The selection process for sports officials that are assigned to do playoff games is at best a farce. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good officials calling in the playoffs, but I might add there are some bad ones as well. The criteria must be made and not left in the hands of a very small group to decide. They end up hand picking on the buddy system. I have seen it first hand, and it is one of many reasons the recruiting of new young officials is going horrible. Nothing that the legislature does can make things perfect, that is not possible. For instance, no matter what you do or say, fans will always yell at umpires and referees about bad calls – it is an inherent part of the game. You can, however, protect the integrity of the games we play and after all, that is why we have a GHSA in the first place. What has happened in recent years is that they forgot whom they work for (the schools) and have become, in some instances, almost belligerent in their response to accusations and questions. Well, again we will see. They are running scared right this moment whether they admit it or not. I welcome your comments.