Fannin Co. athletic programs are expected to play in Region 7-AA beginning with the 2020-21 school year.
Earlier this month, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) released the list of tentative reclassifications for the 2020-2022 school years. Initially, Fannin Co. was put into Region 8-AA along with Banks Co., Elbert Co., Rabun Co., Riverside Military, and Union Co.
Fannin Co. administration filed an appeal with the GHSA to move to Region 7-AA, citing travel times and travel distances as the main factors.
The appeal letter, submitted by Fannin Co. High Principal Erik Cioffi, stated:
“The request to transfer regions is based on travel time, distance, cost, instructional time, and safety. In Region 8-AA, two of the team are one 125 miles away and the bus routes for these trips take longer than three hours to complete. … If approved, a placement in Region 7-AA would allow for all trips to be under 100 miles in distance and take less than two hours. The time and mileage of travel in 8-AA would also add cost by increasing driver time and fuel consumption.”
The appeal letter went on to state that student instructional time would also be impacted along with citing safety concerns of so many underage athletes traveling into the late hours of the night.
Fannin Co.’s appeal was granted by a 13-1 vote Tuesday, Nov. 29, with two members of the GHSA’s Reclassification Committee abstaining after Cioffi presented the request at the hearing held in Thomaston.
While the appeal was approved by the committee, the move to Region 7-AA is not quite a done deal yet, says Cioffi.
“The next step is for the Executive Committee for Reclassification to approve all regions for GHSA. Nothing is official until that meeting, which I understand to be in early December,” Cioffi said Wednesday.
The prospective Region 7-AA includes Chattooga, Close, Dade Co., Fannin Co., Gordon Central, Model, and Pepperell.