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GHSA to reclassify regions every four years

The often heated discussions over reclassification among Georgia High School Association schools will still happen, just not as frequently.

The GHSA Executive Committee approved Monday a change to a four-year cycle for reclassification - the process of assigning its member schools into five classifications for athletic competitions. In past years, this process was done every two years.

A four-year cycle allows teams to remain in the same regions for four-year periods, instead of two-year spans. The next reclassification will distribute schools to the five classifications for the 2010-11 through the 2013-14 school years.

"It gives (schools) four years to get used to a region," GHSA director of media relations Steve Figueroa said. "It gives them time to develop some rivalries."

The new plan also allows the GHSA to move schools around during the four-year period if a school gains or loses more than 20 percent of its enrollment.

Softball, volleyball eliminate sectionals

The long-running sectional tournaments in softball and volleyball were eliminated at Monday's meeting.

Softball teams now will be placed into a 32-team bracket, similar to basketball, with the higher seeds hosting the first two rounds. Those two rounds will feature teams playing best-of-three series similar to baseball. The final eight then move on to the state finals in Columbus.

Volleyball will also feature a 32-team bracket with higher seeds hosting the first two rounds before using neutral sites the final three rounds.

Soccer, lacrosse seasons pushed back

The GHSA elected to push the soccer and lacrosse seasons back a week beginning with the 2010-11 school year to allow more time for preseason practice. Instead of finishing their seasons with state finals on May 8, 2010, the soccer and lacrosse finals now are slated for May 15.

In another soccer decision, a proposal to increase overtime periods from five minutes to 10 minutes, with a sudden-death victory format, was denied.

Noteworthy

A proposal to allow both the low medalist and the region tournament runner-up to qualify for the state golf tournament was denied. ... The Executive Committee also received information asking for a sectional track and field meet to be added, with four athletes advancing to sectionals from the region meet. Two athletes would then move on from sectionals to state. The current format sends the top two finishers from each region event to state.