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Reform the Georgia High School Association

This petition had 331 supporters

The Georgia High School Association let down the children it is supposed to serve and violated its own constitution and bylaws by not playing the Georgia State High School Basketball Championship Games in accordance with the rules published by the National Federation of State High Schools. The stanchions that hold the rim and the backboard were not placed in the proper position, thereby causing the baskets to be offset by approximately a foot on each end of the court for the entire championship tournament. 

The mistake was pointed out to GHSA representatives by a coach on Friday, yet the GHSA, in an act of gross negligence, made the decision to continue to allow the teams to play. Their after-the-fact justification for doing so was that the mistake would have an equal effect on all teams.

The specific effects of the misalignment of the baskets cannot be fully measured, but the GHSA’s suggestion that it impacted each team equally and therefore resulted in neither team gaining an appreciable advantage reflects either a lack of understanding of basketball or a willingness to prevaricate in order to protect the GHSA’s interests.

Free throws and three-point shooting require repetition and muscle memory. Movement of the basket even a few inches, let alone a full foot, could wreak havoc on shooters who have honed these skills. Both statistical analysis of the games and the observations of those in attendance indicate that there was a significant effect in these two areas. Additionally, it is likely that the repeated bad misses had a psychological impact on the children playing in these games, although such an effect can never be quantified.

This was the State Championship.  For many of these kids this was the biggest moment of their life to date.  And it is not just the runners-up who were left to question what might have been that were cheated. The state champions will forever be saddled with an asterisk, even if only in the minds of those who attended or participated in the games.

Of course, the GHSA has promised that a mistake of this magnitude will never occur again, but they have little incentive to change any of the policies or procedures which led to this grave error. A promise is not enough. The student athletes and their coaches deserve a true apology from the GHSA. Georgia taxpayers deserve oversight of the organization which controls each and every high school athletic state championship in their state.

We demand that Dr. Glenn White, GHSA President, immediately submit his resignation. Additionally, we ask the Georgia General Assembly and Governor Nathan Deal to create a Joint Study Committee to make inquiry into this year's Georgia State High School Basketball Championship Games and the GHSA generally.

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