Gordy Gruhl, the athletic director and boys basketball coach at Deerfield, said it was a sad day to see Tattnall Square and Stratford leave GISA.
MACON — Stratford and Tattnall Square, two Class AAA private school powerhouses from Macon, both voted to severe ties with the GISA and join the GHSA on Monday, opting to leave the all-private school league, which has seen its numbers dwindle over the years.
Mount de Sales, another GISA Class AAA power from Macon, announced earlier that it would be leaving the GISA, and the loss of the three schools will have an enormous impact on the level of competition in the private school league.
The big question is how will Macon’s exodus affect Deerfield-Windsor, which is trying to decide whether to stay in the GISA or make the move to the GHSA.
“We’re looking into it,’’ Deerfield Athletic Director Gordy Gruhl said Monday. “We’re exploring it at this time. It’s something we have to take a look at because of the competition factor, simply because we lost some of those AAA schools. But there are other things to look at than competition. We will have to look at our options and whether it would be a good or a bad thing. I’m sure our board will make the right decision.’’
DWS, which is arguably the most successful athletic program in all of GISA, doesn’t have much time. The school would have to declare that it is leaving and joining the GHSA by April 1.
It’s much easier for the Macon schools such as Mount De Sales, which decided earlier to leave the GISA and join the GHSA, Tattnall Square and Stratford to move to the GHSA because those schools would be playing in GHSA regions with other private schools.
If DWS joins the GHSA, the athletic teams would almost certainly be playing in Region 1-A, which consists of all public schools. The GHSA’s recent decision to split public and private state championships in Class A has had its problems and critics because postseason berths are decided on a rankings system.
DWS could possibly have one of the top teams in a region full of public schools and still not qualify for the private school state playoffs because of the ranking system.
Monday’s announcement does leave a huge hole in the competition in this part of the state and hurts Deerfield because Stratford and Tattnall Square were great rivals of Deerfield, not only during the regular season but especially in the state playoffs.
“Certainly, we hate to lose some of our biggest rivals over the years,’’ Gruhl said. “Mount de Sales left earlier so those are three schools that we have had a long history with. If we stay we will miss them. It’s a sad day to see them go.’’