Sorry I’ve been off the blog for so long. I spent the holidays in Las Vegas with my family. My laptop had a cracked screen, so it was getting repaired. No matter, it’s all fixed, so I can get back to delivering news about my sports.
There is a lot going on. Georgia State started the Sun Belt portion of the schedule and split a pair of games, edging Georgia Southern by 4 while getting dismantled by preseason favorite Troy on Thursday. Even Reinhardt is making news. Head Coach Drew Cronic left to become offensive coordinator of Furman. He spent nine years on staff before coming to Reinhardt so it will not be a new situation.
No, I’ve got something else to discuss. It’s an idea that I’ve mulling for a while now, and now seems like the perfect time to break it out.
The Georgia High School Athletic Association just moved to 8 classifications. If that seems like a lot, well, it is. Georgia is wrestling with a lot of the issues that are endemic through the country. It boils down to fairness and getting schools on level playing field. And of course, the old stand by of recruiting. It used to be private schools that had this concern. But this season, a public school in the top region, Grayson, won after several top-tier recruits moved into the district.
I’m not here to talk about the pros and cons of eight classifications. I’ve got something bigger in mind. It’s of the vein of taking advantage of what life offers.
Let’s talk basketball. It doesn’t matter how big or small a school is, you can only play five on a court at one time. If you have two dominating players, you can play with any team at any level. A school in the smallest classification, if they have a good core and a strong coaching system, can stay with anybody. Greenforest Christian, a private school in the smallest class, routinely plays, and stays with, teams with enrollments much larger.
In a few months, Georgia will crown eight state basketball champions. The regular seven, plus two for the smallest classification (one for public and one for private). Eight. An interesting number, eight. Some tournaments use eight entrants for three days of games, and crown a titlist on the third day.
And that is what I propose. Take the eight winners of the Georgia boys classifications (and girls too, no reason they shouldn’t get in on the fun), and put them in a special tourney to be held the week after the state finals. This way, you get the top high school team in the state, regardless of classification.
You can thank me whenever you like.
The GHSAA will have to get on board with this. And that won’t be easy. But can you see the appeal? You get the best of both worlds. You get the classification system so ‘fairness’ will be enforced. But you also get the all-comers feel that made the Indiana tourney so anticipated (and which gave us Hoosiers).
I’ve got one other quirk for this tourney. You make it a blind draw. When the eight titlists are awarded, nobody knows who is playing who (or is it whom?) We borrow the hopper that the lottery uses, stick eight balls in, and see what gets spit out for the initial seeding. This also helps in preventing coaches from scouting potential opponents for first round matchups.
Then there is the matter of where to play. Macon is in the center of the state and will probably get the host duties, if they find proper backboards (long story requiring several paragraphs of explanation – don’t ask). It’s central location would equalize travel time, and there would be enough hotel space for everyone.
And finally, media coverage. Georgia Public Broadcasting has had the rights to football and basketball finals for the last several years, and it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t want this.
This idea has got everything. It has the chance to be the biggest basketball event that Georgia has ever witnessed. It would be the best of the best coming together for a weekend of a hoops extravaganza. College coaches know there is a hotbed of talent in this state. It’s been mined for years. Let’s have one last weekend for it to go out in a blaze of glory.
This is such a great idea I can’t believe nobody has even thought of it or broached it. So let me be the first. It might be too late to put it together this season, but next, sure. Let’s do it. (All I ask is to be put on the broadcast crew – but that’s negotiable.)
Who’s with me?