As this unusual academic year draws to a conclusion, the TSSAA is recognizing the more than 3,000 students who participated in three or more sports during the 2019-20 school year.
While there were more than 83,000 student-athletes at TSSAA member high schools this year, only 3,036 of them participated in more than two sports. The state office has sent schools printable certificates for each of their three-sport athletes, but considering the present circumstances, the schools may not be able to distribute them.
"If the pandemic has reminded us of anything, a child's school days are precious. That's why our principals and athletic directors need to create an environment in their schools where students can experience as many different sports as they want," said Bernard Childress, Executive Director of TSSAA. "Telling a kid they can't do something just because one coach or another doesn't want them to is basically cheating them out of a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
TSSAA believes that interscholastic athletics is one of society's best tools for building positive relationships, learning ethical behavior, and fostering personal growth and perseverance.
William Smith, athletic director at Hamilton High School in Memphis, is among the many administrators across the state instilling in students the benefits of a well-rounded high school experience. Most of the students receiving this "Multi-Sport Athlete Award" are involved in sports throughout the year: fall, winter and spring. Hamilton High had 11 three-sport athletes this year.
"Doing multiple sports," Williams insists, "doesn’t allow time to slack off, time to breathe. It is teaching them what the world is today. We are trying to create multifaceted people and see the chance to excel in all of them."
Administrators and coaches can assess each of their teams' standings in regard to multi-sport participation using the Multi-Sport Participation by Team report on TSSAA.org.
"Our athletic programs do not exist to serve college sports programs," Childress adds, "but it is worth reminding coaches and parents that college recruiters are looking for students that display a great attitude, work ethic and leadership qualities. Those are traits that you develop through participating in a variety of activities."
Multi-Sport Athlete Awards - At a Glance
Students participating in 3+ sports: 3,036
Schools with at least one three-sport athlete: 384
Schools with 25 or more three-sport athletes:
Battle Ground Academy
Briarcrest Christian School
Franklin Road Academy
Pearl Cohn High School
Westmoreland High School
Schools where more than half of athletes participate in multiple sports:
B. T. Washington High School
Jackson Christian School
Nashville Christian School
Tennessee School for the Deaf