Richmond County considers adding magnet students to public athletics

Richmond County considers adding magnet students to public athletics

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - For high school athletes, nothing compares to playing under the Friday night lights, or hearing the roaring applause from the stands after hitting a buzzer shot.

The Georgia High School Association has given the green light for magnet school students to play sports in their assigned public school districts.

Now, Richmond County is trying to decide whether the new regulations are a good fit for Augusta students.

"I'm all for it! I think it needs to happen," said Rudolph Brown, a 2016  graduate of Richmond County TCM, one of the magnet schools that would be affected by the change.

Brown said not having sports on campus is a turn off for a lot of students.

"The first question they ask is do you have sports and we have to tell them no. They want the football; they want the basketball," said Brown.  

That's something athletic director George Bailey said he understands, but wants to take his time to present a proposal that benefits all students across the board.

Bailey said, "I want to be sure that what we present to the board is fair, reasonable, and is going to improve the athletic chances of our students and not hurt."

Bailey said he plans to form a committee that includes athletic directors, and community members to weigh the pros and cons of this issue-with the biggest concerns being transportation and funding.

"It would depend on the number of students who opt to play in their zoned schools. Are we going to transport these students back and forth? It may mean more uniforms, we may have to buy more shoulder pads," said Bailey.

Some board members argue that magnet school were designed for a specific purpose that does not include sports.

Bailey said that's a point he plans to take into consideration before making his final recommendation.

The committee will have until the spring of 2017 to make a final recommendation, but Bailey said he does not anticipate the process taking that long to complete.

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