TSSAA Legislative Council Agenda – December 2016

December 7, 2016
Hermitage, TN

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of Minutes of Last Meeting
  3. Election of Officers
    • President
    • Vice President
  4. 2016 Regional Meetings

    Regional Meetings were held at Hardin Valley Academy, University School of Jackson, and Hillwood High School.  There were seven proposals for changes in the TSSAA Bylaws on the agenda for consideration.  A summary of the attendance for the 2016 Regional Meetings as well as elections of Board of Control and Legislative Council members will be provided.

    1. Addition to Article IV, Section 8 (TSSAA Sports Calendar):

      • Begins with the school’s elimination from postseason tournament play in a particular sport and concludes with the end of the school year. In all sports, coaches may be involved in a coaching capacity with students in their school on non-school teams. In football, no pads are permitted. Helmets may be worn.
      • Individual instructions may be given to no more than three student-athletes per day.


      • Begins the first day of school until the first official day of practice in that particular sport. Individual instructions may be given to no more than three student-athletes per day.

      In both pre-season and off-season, this will give our coaches in all sports the opportunity to work with their student-athletes instead of sending them out to get instructions from non-educators. (Submitted by TSSAA Staff).

    2. Proposed Change in Article I, Section 9(D) (Coaches) of the TSSAA Bylaws:This proposal is to remove the requirement that classified employee or non-faculty coaches may only serve as a head coach in football, basketball, baseball, girls’ softball, and track and field if they have five (5) or more years as experience as a coach at a TSSAA or TMSAA member school.

      In rural counties, like Wayne, we are having an increasingly difficult time filling coaching positions due to low pay and all that comes along with coaching. We have a desperate need of filling coaching positions with non-faculty coaches. Our system requires an official background check and school board approval before they can serve in any capacity. I have full confidence that principals and local school boards will do what is in the best interest of each program and student-athlete. (Submitted by Wayne County High School)

    3. Proposed Change in Article III, Section 14 (Playing of Ineligible Student-Athletes) of the TSSAA Bylaws:Currently, when a team plays an ineligible athlete in TSSAA tournaments or playoffs, the entire contest is forfeited, the team is removed from the tournament or playoff, and no team replaces that team in the tournament series. All awards and money earned from the post-season tournament series must be returned to TSSAA.This proposal is to eliminate the phrase, “no team replaces that team in the tournament series,” from the rule.

      We believe that if a school’s athletic team loses due to ineligible athletes and is removed from the tournament playoff, then the losing team should be able to advance in the tournament or playoff. The losing team should not be held accountable because their loss is predicated by the use of ineligible athletes.By allowing the losing team to advance in a tournament or playoff, then an equitable opportunity is being provided to those student-athletes, coaches, school, fans, and community. Positive recognition is being supported for those that obeyed the rules. The learning experience will be such that student-athletes will comprehend that following the rules, representing positive sportsmanship and citizenship, and working relentlessly toward success is rewarded. (Submitted by Fred J. Page High School)

    4. Proposed Change in Article IV, Section 1 (Schools Which Member Schools May Play or Scrimmage) of the TSSAA Bylaws:This proposal is to allow current players to play against Alumni players during the first week of official practice and count this toward the allowed 4 preseason scrimmages.A member school may play one alumni game or one preseason scrimmage with alumni in all sports except football. If the school has separate teams for boys and girls in a particular sport (e.g., girls’ and boys’ basketball), each team may play an alumni game which must count as a regular season contest. A preseason scrimmage with alumni must count as one of the four permitted preseason scrimmages.

      The purpose of an alumni game is to allow for players to reconnect with their alma mater; thus, bringing teammates across the years back together on one team. The current rules stipulate that an alumni game must be played during the regular season and must count as a game. The proposal is only offering an option to the existing rule by proposing that an alumni game may take place during the preseason and count as one of the four permitted scrimmages. Alumni games typically mirror scrimmages more than games. There is much more flexibility in the format of the scrimmage from the time length of the scrimmage, to the size of the field, to the number of girls participating. For many sports, allowing an alumni scrimmage in the preseason will allow recent graduates to participate in the scrimmage before they head to their college or university. In most cases, the purpose of the alumni game is to honor those players who have helped to build these programs over the years, not to gain any strategic advantage over an opponent in the course of a season. (Submitted by Briarcrest Christian School)

    5. Proposed Addition to Articles III & IV of the TSSAA Constitution:We are requesting that the Legislative Council amend existing TSSAA bylaws to allow three additional seats on both the Legislative Council and the Board of Control to be filled by Directors of Schools selected from each grand division through the procedures as set forth for all voting seats on the Legislative Council or Board of Control.

      The addition of Directors of Schools to the two voting bodies will ultimately strengthen our organization and elevate our standing among many groups as well as improve the service we are able to provide. Directors of Schools will add a unique and different perspective to matters that impact not only member schools, but school districts as well. The bigger picture lens that Directors of Schools look through will only enhance our decisions as their knowledge and experience in dealing with district budgets, parent and public perceptions, operational issues, personnel, school boards, transportation issues, and dealing with all community stakeholders will add a new and unique level of experience to our organization. We feel our decisions will be stronger given the broader perspective of the discussions that will occur as a result of the addition of Directors of Schools to the voting positions on the Legislative Council and Board of Control. (Submitted by Bradford High School)

    6. Proposed Addition to Article I, Section 6 (Cooperative Programs) of the TSSAA Bylaws:Section 6 currently reads:

      Only two member schools may petition TSSAA annually for permission to have a cooperative program in any sport if one of the schools does not have that program and has not had that program for the last five years. The Executive Director of TSSAA may approve such cooperative programs subject to approval by principal of schools involved, the governing board of the schools involved, and the Board of Control.


      Schools that have a cooperative program will be classified in the sports in which the cooperative program exists by using the smaller number of the following calculations.

      1. Combined enrollment of the two schools involved in the cooperative program.
      2. Applying a multiplier of 1.8 to the larger of the two schools involved in the cooperative program.


      School A allows students from School B to participate in basketball at School A through an approved cooperative program. School A has an enrollment of 574 and School B has an enrollment of 222. Their combined enrollment is 796. The multiplier of 1.8 for School A (the larger school) is 1033. Therefore, School A would be classified at 796 for basketball only.

      Cooperative programs were developed to provide opportunities for students in schools that did not have the ability to offer athletic programs for their students due to the size of the school. However there are currently cooperative programs that have schools that are both large enough to offer athletic programs that are participating as a cooperative program. This provides a potential unfair advantage by allowing a school access to student athletes that are not included in their enrollment for classification. Therefore, they are classified at classes lower than the actual number of student athletes they have available for participation. This also puts other member schools at a disadvantage. In every class the bottom 3 to 4 schools would be able to play at a lower classification, therefore, improving their ability to compete if the cooperative schools were classified based on the number of students they have available for participation. (Submitted by McKenzie High School)

    7. Proposed Addition to Article I, Section 6 (Cooperative Programs) of the TSSAA Bylaws:We would like the following added to the Bylaw:If a student at a public or charter school plays a sport at a private or independent school, the student should fall under the same guidelines as a home school student, paying full tuition and abiding by all financial aid rules.

      We have no issue with cooperative programs or home school students playing for our member schools. We feel that just as a home school student is required to pay tuition at a private or independent school, so should a public or charter school student be held to the same standard. (Submitted by Harding Academy)

  5. New Business
    1. Proposed Change to the Definition of “Financial Assistance Program” in the TSSAA BylawsColumbia Academy is requesting the Legislative Council amend the definition of “Financial Assistance Program.” The proposed change is intended to clarify what constitutes employment.
    2. Football Practice RegulationsIn July, our office was made aware that some schools were engaging in 7 on 7 football competition without requiring players to wear helmets. For player safety, the staff is recommending it be added to the “Football Regulations” that it is required that helmets be worn during any football practice or activity that involves contact, including 7 on 7 competition.
    3. Proposed Change to Article II, Section 21 (Independent Game Participation) of the TSSAA Bylaws
    4. Proposed Change to Article I, Section 9(B) (Coaches) of the TSSAA Bylaws
    5. Addition to Article VIII (Regional Meeting) of the TSSAA ConstitutionFailure of a member school to attend the Regional Meeting two consecutive years shall result in a fine of $100.00.
  6. Litigation Report