Prior to 1925, there were no eligibility standards or regulations for interscholastic athletics in Tennessee which was the only state in the South that did not have a statewide athletic association, in the spring of 1925, at the State Teachers' Meeting held in Nashville, a group of principals and other school administrators met at Hume-Fogg High School to form a state-wide secondary school athletic association.

These principals and other school administrators concluded that such an organization was needed in Tennessee because the interest in athletic programs was growing with no control except in a few areas of the state where conferences had been formed by some schools.

The early years of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association were governed by a Board of Control composed of nine members (now 12), three from each Grand Division of the state. Board members were required to be principals or superintendents. The board members of each Grand Division constituted a Divisional Committee with the power to organize within its division and have jurisdiction over any question that might arise in its Grand Division. Any decision could be appealed to the full TSSAA Board of Control.

The annual meeting of the Association was held during the meeting of the State Teachers' Association in Nashville, Tennessee. A quorum consisted of twenty member schools and five members of the Board of Control. The duties of the Board of Control were to conduct state meets and state tournaments, to be the final court of appeals in all cases involving rules and regulations of the Association and perform such other duties as may be delegated by the Association.

Board of Control Today

The Board of Control now consists of four representatives from each of the three Grand Divisions of the State, at least one of which must be an administrator at an independent (non-public) school. Each serves a three year term. Terms are staggered so that the terms of four members expire each year.

Members of the Board of Control 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.

The Board of Control meets five times per year (January, March, June, August, November).