The TSSAA Legislative Council will meet on Thursday, December 12 at the TSSAA office building in Hermitage. The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m.

The Council will vote on five proposals for changes in the TSSAA Bylaws. All five items were discussed with administrators of member schools at the Regional Meetings that were held in November at Hardin Valley Academy, University School of Jackson, and Hillwood High School.

The first proposal is a change to Article II, Section 23 (All-Star Games) of the TSSAA Bylaws. This proposal would remove this rule from the Bylaws. The rationale behind the proposal, which was submitted by the TSSAA staff, is that we are experiencing a significant increase in All-Star contests after the season in all sports. Many of the games are for underclassmen, and our student-athletes are not allowed to participate. Parents are wanting their children to participate, if invited, and Athletic Directors/Coaches are being put in the position of saying “no” and trying to explain why to the athlete and parents. The rule is designed to make sure student-athletes are not being exploited, but a lot of this responsibility should be on the parents. Many times coaches do not even know about the All-Star Game invitation and find out right before the player is scheduled to go, making the situation worse.

The second proposal in front of the Council is a proposed Change to Article II, Section 7 (Repeating Rule) of the TSSAA Bylaws. The current rule states:

A student who repeats the sixth, seventh, or eighth grade and plays in an interscholastic contest (varsity, JV, or any other level) while repeating shall be ineligible in all sports at all levels in the ninth grade.

The proposed rule would state:

A student who repeats the sixth or seventh grade and plays in a middle school interscholastic varsity contest while repeating shall be ineligible in all sports at all levels in the ninth grade.

A student who repeats eighth grade and plays in any interscholastic middle school or high school contest (varsity, JV, or any other level) while repeating shall be ineligible in all sports at all levels in the ninth grade.

Chattanooga Christian School submitted the proposal, with the thought being that a decision to retain a student and repeat sixth or seventh grade is most often made to support the student’s academic achievement but can be isolating for the student. Restricting a sixth or seventh grade student from all middle school interscholastic participation during the year they repeat further isolates the student by keeping them from the benefits of team interaction and associated accountability. Allowing sixth and seventh grade students to participate in junior varsity (or below) middle school contests only while repeating allows the student to experience the value of interscholastic athletic activities while maintaining the intent of the current rule.

The change does not alter the status of the current rule for students repeating eighth grade and clarifies that they are restricted from middle school and high school interscholastic athletic contests.

The third proposal, which was submitted by Bradley Central High School, is to remove Article II, Section 12(d) (Eligible Transfer Students) from the TSSAA Bylaws which currently states:

The student is moving from a boarding school where they are a boarder to the school serving the territory where his/her parents live, or vice versa, provided the student has attended the school he/she is leaving for a minimum of twelve months and provided the principal at the school he/she is leaving indicates in writing that the move is not for athletic or disciplinary reasons. The move must be at the beginning of the school year. (Note: The school must be outside the day school territory of the boarding school.)

This proposal is to go back to the old rule that did not allow student-athletes with an athletic record in the last twelve months to go back and forth between schools without a bona fide change of residence that justifies the change in schools.

The rationale submitted with the proposal is that being we have had several student-athletes go from a non-boarding school and transfer to a boarding school and then return to their original school without a bona fide change of residence. These student-athletes became eligible at both places. This is not consistent with other student-athletes who must have a bona fide change of residence.

The fourth item on the agenda was submitted by Memphis Middle College High School. This proposal is to move the date of first contest in golf from NFHS Week 4 to NFHS Week 7.

The reasoning behind the proposal is that all other fall sport contests begin on NFHS Week 7. By moving the golf calendar back three weeks, it would not only align the schedule with other fall sports, but it would also move the golf schedule out of the summer weeks when the heat index can be a significant issue. Additionally, by starting contests earlier in the summer, it can be difficult to integrate freshmen onto the team, especially in urban school districts. As it stands now, this first date of contest shift would place the golf state championships in mid to late October. Fellow state associations, Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Virginia all have their state championships in mid to late October. The school feels this move would allow urban schools a more equitable chance at participation but also not hinder non-urban schools who would essentially be allotted the same amount of practice time and competition time they have had in the past.

The fifth item on the agenda is a proposed addition to Article I, Section 6 (Cooperative Programs) of the TSSAA Bylaws. The proposed addition is in bold below:

Only two member schools in the same Division 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 (to be determined on a case by case basis, upon request). The Executive Director of TSSAA may approve such cooperative programs subject to approval by the principals of the schools involved, the governing board of the schools involved, and the Board of Control.

Brighton High School submitted the proposal with the thought that this will allow student-athletes of schools who drop their programs (for any reason) to finish their athletic careers.

Other items on the agenda for the Legislative Council include a proposed change to Article II, Section 13 (Ineligible Transfer Students) of the TSSAA Bylaws to remove the following:

Any subsequent transfer to another school without a bona fide change of residence will cause the student to be ineligible for 12 months, in all TSSAA sanctioned sports, from the date of enrollment in the new school.

There is also a proposal for the phrase “minimum of 100 school days” be removed for both the Board of Control and the Legislative Council in Section 2 of Articles III and IV of the TSSAA Constitution. It would read, “All members of the Board of Control/Legislative Council must be full-time employees who are principals…”

Another proposal would be to remove the current maximum fee of $100.00 per year to register TMSAA non-faculty coaches. The annual registration fee would decrease from $40.00 per coach to $25.00 per coach with no maximum. This proposal would also add the definition and requirements for Classified Employee coaches to the middle school bylaws. There is no fee to register a Classified Employee.

The full Council agenda can be viewed below.