The Georgia High School Association’s board of trustees met on Jan. 12, 2023. The day’s agenda included a discussion of the football state championship, changes to Lifetime Pass requirements, and scheduling for the spring 2023 semester.
Here’s a look at what the board approved this week and what’s to expect this spring:
The State Executive Committee’s spring meeting was moved to Monday, April 17, 2023, to avoid coinciding with spring breaks across the state.
The board also discussed beginning and ending dates for future GHSA events since the overlap between winter and spring sports seasons is becoming a bigger issue. However, unless both seasons are cut significantly shorter, members of the board agreed that there isn’t much they can do at the moment.
The final details of moving the 2023 football state championship to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium are in the works. The change in venue may soon be accompanied by the addition of instant replay at state championship games.
The question of instant replay came to a head during the 2022 championship game between Cedar Grove and Sandy Creek High School. Atlanta News First reported that controversy erupted when the referee called a touchdown on a play that broadcast footage later revealed to have fallen short of the goal line. Instant replay would only be used in state championship games, as the National High School Federation does not allow it during the regular season.
Football coordinator Kevin Giddens said that the GHSA office still needs to determine what plays are eligible for instant replay, as well as what personnel and equipment are needed to bring this goal fruition.
The conversation then turned to name, image, and likeness (or NIL) issues at future GHSA events. Giddens told the committee that over 20 states have already approved rules concerning NIL on the high school level and that the GHSA office will be submitting proposals on both issues to the State Executive Committee at their April meeting.
In other football news, a proposal to get rid of minimum seating requirements for schools to host semifinal football playoff games was tabled. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that last fall Fulton County had to move three games because the stadiums they were held at didn’t meet seating requirements, although none of the games had attendance that justified the move. However, the board requested more pre-COVID data before making a decision and will reconsider the proposal in April.
Changes were also made in the tryout period of flag football. The board approved a proposal to allow for a tryout period of five days, any time after May 1 and before the final day of school. The days don’t need to be consecutive, and schools can use non-school facilities to conduct the tryout period. Flag football tryouts are limited to rising 9th to 11th graders who are currently enrolled in Georgia high schools.
Lifetime Pass requirements
The board unanimously passed a motion to change the requirements for a Lifetime Pass. Lifetime passes are available for retirees who served at least 20 years in a state association member school, grades nine through 12, as a superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, athletic director, or coach. They must have served the last 10 years at a GHSA member school, grades nine through 12.
Now, if a Lifetime Pass holder returns to work in a capacity that gives them access to another pass, such as a coach’s pass, they need to return their Lifetime Pass to the GHSA office. School board members with at least 30 years of service now qualify for Lifetime Passes,