ALBANY — Sherwood Christian Academy will be moving its membership from the Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA) to the newly formed Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association (GICAA), the school announced on Wednesday.
The Eagles will begin competing in the GICAA next fall.
Sherwood Athletic Director Eddie Dixon said it was a move the administration spent a lot of time praying and thinking about before deciding.
“It’s going to give our student athletes a better opportunity to compete,” Dixon said. “We don’t have the numbers some of the schools we are competing against (in the GISA) have. In the GICAA, we will be competing against same-size student bodies that we have here.”
The school’s K-12 enrollment numbers are about 450. However, the GISA used figures from 9-12 grades to place Sherwood into a region with similar-size schools. For the past two years, the Eagles competed in Class AA with around 140 students. Two years ago, they competed in Class AAA, the GISA’s largest classification.
Sherwood competed well in most sports but had difficulty in football. Dixon said the Eagles had around 25 players trying to compete against schools that had 40 or more players on their roster.
“We’re taking this as an opportunity to get on the ground floor of a new organization and be able to grow with them,” Dixon said. “It’s mostly a numbers thing with us. When you play against schools with larger enrollments, it beats you down. “
SCA headmaster Glen Schultz said in a press release that Sherwood had been searching for an organization that reflected its values and philosophy, and he believed “the GICAA would be the best fit for us.”
“The landscape of high school athletics has changed dramatically over the past ten years,” Schultz said. “Many large private schools have joined the Georgia High School Association, impacting the classification of other GISA schools.”
Dixon said he knows some will greet the move with skepticism.
“Winning breeds success,” Dixon said. “When you win, you get a better fan base. We’re thinking positive, not negative.”
The GICAA, which started in January, boasts some 50 member schools, several of them former GISA members. On the organization’s website, Sherwood Christian was already listed in Division 1 with several familiar names such as Fullington Academy in Pinehurst and Calvary Christian of Columbus.
“We’re very excited to have them,” said Gene Harper, Executive Director of the GICAA. “We’re looking forward to having them come on board, and we believe they are going to be a huge asset to our organization.”
While the GICAA continues to grow, Sherwood’s departure is another loss for the GISA, which lost three key members of its organization — Tattnall Square, Stratford Academy and Mount de Sales — to the GHSA this year.