TSSAA Votes To Delay State Basketball Tournaments Rather Than Cancel

Board Also Elects to Delay Spring Sports, Spring Fling At This Point

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - by Dennis Norwood

(UPDATED) The Board of Directors of the TSSAA met by teleconference on Tuesday afternoon and has taken the recommendation of the staff and voted to delay, rather than cancel, both the boy’s and girl’s state basketball tournament. The board also took action, regarding spring sports, to reinforce the policy that if a team decides not to play a spring sports schedule, then the team must be allowed to participate in the district tournament.

Bernard Childress, Executive Director, told the board that his office had been in touch with both MTSU and Rutherford County to ensure that accommodations could be made should state and national direction would allow for the current restrictions regarding COVID-19 to be dropped.

The president and athletic director at MTSU have pledged their cooperation to make this happen, should the current COVID-19 policies be lifted.

The plan currently being considered would have the tournament take place over one week, possibly the week of May 11th. The girl’s tournament would pick up their semifinals on Monday and play the championship games on Tuesday. The boy’s tournament would be held Wednesday through Saturday.

Should it become possible to continue the basketball tournaments, all teams would play with the rosters currently on file. No new transfer students would be allowed to compete.

Meanwhile, teams are not allowed any practice, scrimmages or conditioning. This applies to spring sports, as well.

According to Mr. Childress, the state office has been flooded with emails from athletes, students, coaches, administrators and parents asking that the season not be canceled. He said, “We need to continue to try and not give up on this.” He continued that at some point it might be necessary to do so to stay in line with guidance given by the governor and national officials. In the meantime, “students need to know we’re not giving up,” said Mr. Childress.

Mr. Childress stated, “We are not giving up on the basketball tournament or the Spring Fling. Again, there may come a point we have to, but we want students to know we tried.”

TSSAA is looking at the possibility of extending the Spring Fling two weeks and holding the spring sports state championships the last weekend in May. Mr. Childress announced that the staff would like to hold it the first week of June, but Rutherford County has advised that moving into June would cause problems with the availability of hotel rooms.

At this point, the TSSAA will continue to monitor the situation at both the state and national level. While nothing is certain at this point, the organization is poised to put its plan into action should policies allow.

complete board minutes:

1. Roll Call

2. Approved Minutes of Last Meeting

3. Voted to elect Mike Reed as President of the Board of Control
Voted to elect Greg McCullough as Vice-President of the Board of Control

4. Approved the 2019 BlueCross Bowl Team Allotment Report

5. Approved the Financial Report of the 2020 State Bowling Tournament

6. Approved the Financial Report of the 2019 TSSAA Hall of Champions Games

7. Approved Gatlinburg-Pittman Junior High School and Pigeon Forge Junior High School Request TSSAA Membership

8. The Sevier County Board of Education has decided to change the grade configuration of Gatlinburg-Pittman Middle School and Pigeon Forge Middle School from 6-8 grade schools to 7-9 grade schools next year. They are going back to the Junior High concept. Both schools requested to join TSSAA in order for the 9th grade students to be able to co-op with the high schools. The 7th and 8th graders will participate in all sanctioned sports at the middle school level at their school.

9.Approved St. Andrew’s – Sewanee School request for cooperative agreement with Grundy County High School in football for the 2020-21 school year.
Heard InsideOut Initiative Update

10. The Board was updated regarding the upcoming classification timeline

11. The staff discussed 8 Man Football, a minimum number of players required to play 11
Man Football, and the longstanding Board policy eliminating schools from basketball post-season if they drop football with the Board. The Board

12. Approved Gallatin High School’s request to allow golf coaches to coach their student- athletesduringregularandpostseasoncompetition. Theproposalwastoallowone coach per school to talk to/coach student-athletes from green-to-tee.

13. Approved the Heat Policy revisions

14. Voted to continue with the current suspension of the state basketball tournaments
and explore what options are possible to conduct the tournament at a date in the near future.

15. The Board voted to maintain the current policy that the regular season for spring sports competition is still left up to school administrators, local boards of education,
etc. If a school decides to not have any regular season games, they could not be prohibited from entering the post-season.

(Email Assistant Sports Editor Dennis Norwood at dennisnorwood56@gmail.com)

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