A New Home

By: Colin Lacy

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We’ve documented so many changes to the GHSA and how the 2024-25 athletic year will look. Between the elimination of the 7A classification, which forced region realignment, and the fact of private GHSA schools in 3A and lower playing for a separate state title, the latest change for the upcoming year was announced late last week from the GHSA Offices.

At least for the 2024 football season, the GHSA State playoffs will have a built in off-week prior to the semifinal matchups giving the teams that are still playing the week of Thanksgiving off.

While “practicing on Thanksgiving” had been a badge of honor for some teams, meaning that you’re one of the few teams still playing at that point of the year now that week will be free for everyone.

While the casual fan of both high school football and college football in the state of Georgia will be spared from making the choice between a high school semifinal matchup, and “Good Ol Fashion Hate,” there are more reasons behind the shift in the schedule.

Allegedly purely coincidentally, the Georgia vs Georgia Tech matchup on the gridiron was announced last week as well to be taking place on ABC on Black Friday, but the GHSA office says that it is just that, purely coincidence.

GHSA executive director Robin Hines said that the shift in the schedule will give players and staff of teams still alive in the postseason to “have a normal Thanksgiving for a change.”

With the built in off-week in the schedule, the GHSA Football State Championships will now take place December 16-18 inside Mercades-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The location is another key factor in why the change occurs for the coming year. Because of a Leap Year…Yes, I said a Leap Year affects the schedule…the SEC Football Championship Game will be held in Mercades-Benz Stadium on December 7th which would have been in the middle of the originally scheduled GHSA Championships forcing the GHSA to find a new home.

All in all, as much as folks will also benefit from being able to watch the Georgia-Georgia Tech game on Black Friday, and as much as nay-sayers want to point to the college game dictating the GHSA schedule, it gets deeper than that.

While, yes, ONE college game does affect the schedule, it’s not the Georgia-Georgia Tech game that falls on the now bye-week for the high schoolers.

The majority of the decision comes to keeping the GHSA from having to find a new home for the GHSA State Championships which I can get on board with. The Championships should always be at “the Benz,” and this keeps the games where they belong.