Track and field coaches and athletes in the state of Georgia were feeling optimistic this weekend after a preliminary vote by the Georgia High School Association's Board of Trustees approved for recommendation a vote to add the 4x800 relay to the state championships in 2019.
It would have put the Peach State in line with much of the country, with the eventual addition of the relay to its regional, sectional and state championship events making Georgia the 43rd state to add the race for qualified athletes.
But on Monday, a drastic reversal took place behind closed doors at the GHSA's executive committee fall meeting in Macon and the move was turned down by a 43-21 vote. The committee is comprised of representatives from each region in Georgia and at-large members.
According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, concerns were brought up about "the length of time the event would add on to each postseason meet," and soon after a vote was conducted that shut the door on adding the race, which further drowned out optimism across the state.
One coach in Georgia with knowledge of the situation was disappointed with the vote and believes false information was spread by representatives who "were against the proposal" and whom mentioned to the executive committee that the 4x800 could not be fit into the state championship schedules.
"I have e-mails from all three host sites saying the exact opposite," the coach said.
The coach added: "This is a proposal that is supported by the majority of track coaches in Georgia, is a traditional (National Federation Of High School Associations) event that is run in 42 state track meets, and is good for the kids in Georgia, yet was voted down."
The surprising turn in vote also went up against a poll that was conducted over the previous six months, which sourced nearly 300 school administrators and coaches in Georgia and found that most were in favor of adding the event "by a 2-1 margin," according to a Daily Post source.
The vote to add the relay was the only such proposal turned down by the executive committee after it was approved prior to the meeting.