Brainerd High School administrators have worked with the TSSAA to resolve the unsportsmanlike incident that occurred during a recent boys basketball game between Brainerd High and Austin-East Magnet High on Saturday. Each school involved in the incident submitted a plan to deal with the situation and it was reviewed by officials from TSSAA.
In the response from the TSSAA, the organization accepted the Brainerd plan to:
1. Communicate the school’s expectations for behavior at school events with parents, students and community members
2. School administration will meet with all school coaches and assistant coaches to discuss expectations and responsibilities. The administration will emphasize the purpose of high school athletics and the principles behind TSSAA rules.
3. The school administration will collaborate with district staff to submit a security plan acceptable to district staff before all sports contests.
4. The school administrators will continue to work with the SRO to identify fans who need to be banned from further contests.
5. Player #4 is suspended for the rest of the regular season and postseason
6. Players will be placed on disciplinary probation for the rest of the 2017-2018 school year.
The school also recommended the team be suspended from play for the rest of the regular season, which included five games. The TSSAA did not accept that recommendation and will allow the team to play the rest of the regular season, including tonight’s game with Hixson High. One of the remaining games is scheduled for Austin-East Magnet and was to be played in Knoxville. The game at Austin-East will not be played according to Dr. Zac Brown, interim principal of Brainerd High.
The TSSAA also added additional actions against the Brainerd High program.
The TSSAA actions include:
· The school will be fined $500 for players and fans coming onto the floor during an altercation.
· The boys’ basketball program at Brainerd High is being placed on restrictive probation for the remainder of the 2017-18 season beginning February 2, 2018. The boys’ basketball program will also be on restrictive probation throughout the 2018-2019 school year and the basketball program will be fined $2,000. During the period of restrictive probation, the boys’ basketball team will not be allowed to enter the postseason boys’ tournament series or receive any award recognizing their finish in the regular season.
· The boys’ basketball program at Brainerd High is being placed on probation for the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 school years and fined an additional $1,000. The boys will be allowed to participate in all regular and postseason contests during this probationary period.
The total fine for the Brainerd boys’ basketball program is $3,500 as a result of the incident.
“We are pleased that the TSSA accepted the majority of our proposals to handle this very difficult and regrettable situation,” said Dr. Brown. “Brainerd High takes ownership of the incident in the game and we understand this is not the environment of sportsmanship we desire for our players, our students or our fans. Our Brainerd community also understands the vitally important role extra-curricular activities play in the school’s climate and culture and the educational experience of our players and we want to ensure that we consider the interest of students not involved in the incident as well as future players.”
For that reason, Brainerd High will appeal the decision to impose restrictive probation for the 2018-2019 school year and request the TSSAA place the team on probation instead.
“Brainerd High has taken immediate corrective actions to assure our students and spectators adhere to TSSAA sportsmanship standards and participate in extra-curricular activities in a manner that will be uplifting for themselves and the Brainerd community,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “We pledge our schools and our system to the ideals of sportsmanship of TSSAA and we will work with them to provide growth experiences for our children through the positive attributes of sports that are so very important to our students.”