The Legislative Council of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association was organized April 19, 1935 at the Hermitage Hotel, Nashville. The Association had enjoyed steady growth since its origin in April 1925 and, as might be expected, the member schools would from time to time ask for changes in the rules.
The first procedure was to have an annual meeting, but the membership soon realized that the growing size of the group and the lack of preparation and prior contemplation contributed to hasty rule changes which were often times unwise.
The next method of rule making attempted was by referendum. With one vote per school, every member school could express itself on every problem. By 1934, however, TSSAA's Secretary F. S. Elliott reported that the referendum-by-mail program was an expensive undertaking and that the rate of response was declining year over year.
In several other states, the governing bodies of their athletic associations found it practical and beneficial to create a second panel, separate from the Board of Control, which would be concerned with all matters of legislation. This would relegate the Board of Control to executive and judicial roles and free the Board of the burden of framing new legislation. In the school year 1934-35, member schools amended the Constitution of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association to provide for the Legislative Council.
Because Tennessee was divided into three Grand Divisions and nine Congressional Districts at the time, the membership specified that there should be one member of the Legislative Council for each Congressional District (three additional members were added in 2015). This insured equal representation for all member schools and mirrored the structure of the Board of Control so that each district of the state had one Board and one Council member.
Legislative Council Today
The Legislative Council 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 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.
The Legislative Council meets two times per year (March, December).
The Council is able to give their full attention to the molding of the Constitution and Bylaws in response to the wishes of the member schools and provide a good working basis for the Board of Control.
The agenda of the Council is made up of proposals from Regional Meetings, proposals from committees established by the Board or Council, proposals from the executive staff and proposals from member schools. The Constitution states that proposals must be submitted by the chief administrator of a member school to the Executive Director no later than four weeks prior to the Legislative Council meeting.
The Legislative Council naturally has many requests for legislation which would solve a local situation or affect only a few schools. The Council seeks to avoid changing the rules unless the result would benefit the entire membership.