The month of November brings with it the annual trio of TSSAA Regional Meetings which brings together TSSAA member schools from all parts of the state for a meeting in each Grand Division. The action of the member schools at the three regional meetings are used as a guide by the Legislative Council in adopting or rejecting legislative proposals. In addition, several schools and individuals in each area will be recognized for outstanding sportsmanship and citizenship as part of the annual A.F. Bridges Awards, named in honor of the first Executive Secretary of the association, A.F. Bridges.
Principals of schools in East Tennessee will meet at Hardin Valley Academy at 1 PM eastern on Monday, November 4. Principals of schools in West Tennessee will meet at the University School of Jackson at 10 AM central on Wednesday, November 6. Principals of schools in Middle Tennessee will meet at Hillwood High School at 10 AM central on Thursday, November 7.
A member of the Board of Control in each Grand Division will chair the meeting.
At the East Tennessee meeting, elections will be held for the Board of Control seat for the 1st Athletic District and the East Tennessee independent school representative. Principals in the 2nd and 3rd Athletic District will also select representatives for the Legislative Council.
Middle Tennessee schools will elect representatives for the 6th Athletic District Board of Control seat and Legislative Council seats for the 4th and 6th Athletic Districts.
In West Tennessee, principals will elect a Board member for the 7th District, a Council member for the 9th District and two West Tennessee independent school representatives, one for the Board of Control and one for the Legislative Council.
Three of the elections will be held to fill vacant seats and therefore only fulfill the remainder of the current term. The West Tennessee independent school representative chosen for the Board of Control will serve two years. Legislative Council members chosen to serve the 3rd and 4th Athletic District will fill those seats for one year.
Each member of the Board of Control and Legislative Council serves a three-year term. Terms are staggered so that the terms of eight members expire each year (four Board, four Council).
Members of the Board or Council must be full-time employees (minimum of 100 school days) who are principals, assistant principals (who devote full-time duties to administration), heads of schools, school-level athletic directors (who have achieved a minimum CAA recognition through the NIAAA), district-level athletic directors (who have achieved a minimum CAA recognition through the NIAAA), or director of schools. District-level athletic directors, County and City superintendents of no more than one four-year high school or senior high school shall be eligible to serve. No individual can serve as a member of the Legislative Council and Board of Control at the same time.
Administrators will discuss and voice their opinion on five proposals that will then go before the Legislative Council in December.
In the first agenda item, the TSSAA Executive Staff proposes eliminating the All-Star Game rule found in Article II, Section 23 of the TSSAA Bylaws. Although the rule is designed to reduce the potential for student-athletes to be exploited by recruiters and promoters, the state office staff believes this task is ultimately the responsibility of parents. Many of the games are for underclassmen and with the current rule in place, TSSAA student-athletes are not permitted to participate. School administrators are put in a difficult position having to inform students and parents that participation in many of these events will impact their eligibility in high school sports.
Another proposal to be discussed at the meetings involves Article II, Section 7 of the TSSAA Bylaws which is commonly referred to as the Repeating Rule. Chattanooga Christian School proposes that students who repeat sixth or seventh grade be permitted to play non-varsity sports while repeating without losing eligibility their ninth grade year. Administrators of Chattanooga Christian believe that restricting a sixth or seventh grade student from all middle school interscholastic participation during the year they repeat isolates students by keeping them from the benefits of team interaction and associated accountability. The proposed change does not alter the status of the current rule for students repeating eighth grade.
Bradley Central High School seeks to remove Article II, Section 12(d) of the TSSAA Bylaws which relates to students transferring to or from boarding schools. The subsection, as it currently reads, allows a student to transfer to a boarding school as a boarder or from a boarding school where the student was a boarder without losing varsity eligibility. Students who do not spend a full year at the previous school or are transferring from a boarding school to another that is within the day school territory of the boarding school are excluded from this particular exception. The administration of Bradley Central believes that a change in residence of the student's family, one that justifies the change in schools, should be required for the student to be eligible immediately at the new school.
Memphis Middle College High School proposes beginning the golf season on NFHS Week 7 instead of NFHS Week 4 to coincide with the first contest date of the other fall sports. The administration of Middle College High believes this will make it easier to integrate incoming freshmen into high school programs and allow students to avoid several weeks of summer weather. If the regular season remains the same length, state championships in golf would begin the week of the state volleyball tournament and continue through the week of the first round of the football playoffs.
Lastly, the administration of Brighton High School proposes to alter Article I, Section 6 of the TSSAA Bylaws to include a provision allowing the Executive Director and/or the Board of Control the option of approving a cooperative agreement even if the school without the sport program had discontinued that program within the last five years. This would allow students at schools that drop their programs, for any reason, to continue playing the sport at another member school.
As the TSSAA Constitution states, each member school, provided it is represented by the principal, or by a faculty member designated by the principal, is entitled to one vote on all matters considered at the regional meeting held in its area, unless the Board of Control rules in advance of the regional meeting that certain items on the agenda shall not be voted on by the entire membership but that the vote shall be limited to schools concerned with a particular question. Nonvoting faculty representatives of member schools have the privilege of speaking for or against any proposal considered. The principal, assistant principal, or athletic director shall attend the regional meeting annually. Failure to attend shall result in a warning. If an administrator does not attend the following year, the fine shall be $100.
Results of all elections and votes will be posted to the TSSAA.org website after each meeting.