|What the TSSAA's 20-day rule means|
|Wednesday, August 8, 2012|
Curious as to why are there no TSSAA in-season games being played in Sumner County schools right now? Simple. It’s the policy of Director of Schools Dr. Del Phillips that when school is not in session neither are games.
The TSSAA says games can be played when school is not in session — but only to a point. And that is where the next part of the start of school being delayed could become very interesting from an athletic standpoint.
Practices, scrimmages, playdays — anything that is not a game that counts — can be conducted currently. But that can only last until Aug. 31.
The TSSAA rule that the organization can step in after 20 consecutive school days in which school is not in session and cease all athletics activities — practices, scrimmages, games, etc. — comes from an Aug. 1974 Board of Control meeting. The rule is not on the organization’s Website or in its handbook.
The issue was brought up because Giles County was going through the same issue as Sumner County in regards to school not starting on its scheduled start day.
It was said at the meeting: “in previous cases of this type no action has been taken since schools usually open a week or so after the season begins. In this case there is a possibility schools will not open until the second semester. The Board needs to adopt a policy for the Executive Secretary to follow in situations of this type.”
In the minutes from the 1974 meeting, Joe Hardin, then principal of Giles County High School, asked for a ruling by the Board of Control on the following questions.
a. What is (the) status of a student if he attends another school and returns to Giles County High School in the event school opens on time or shortly thereafter?
b. If school is late in opening, will a student be allowed to play any or part of the football season?
c. If Giles County High School is late opening school and cannot play any games until school begins, will they be allowed to play any games when school starts?
The three answers Hardin got are the answers the TSSAA still gives today in regards to schools not opening on time and the action the organization that governs a majority of the high school athletics in Tennessee can take.
“All schools participating in athletics must be holding classes within 20 school days after the projected starting date of school. The athletic program shall cease for any school in violation of this regulation until such time that classes are resumed. When classes begin meeting the athletic program may resume on the same level as all schools belonging to TSSAA.”
“No student may transfer to another school and participate in athletics until his former school has failed to start within 20 school days of the projected start of school.”
“Any athlete transferring because of his school failing to start within twenty days of the projected starting date may return to the original school when classes begin or at the semester break and be eligible.”
In a nutshell:
• County policy trumps TSSAA policy so no games.
• The TSSAA can step in and shut it all down after Aug. 31 if school’s not in session
• Students can begin transferring to other schools and be immediately eligible to play after 20 consecutive school days of no school.
So far a few golf matches have been and will be missed this week. Volleyball is scheduled for Aug. 14 and football begins Aug. 16 when Station Camp plays host to Hendersonville to start the season for both teams in a game to be televised as part of My30 TV’s Thursday Night Lights.
— Corby A. Yarbrough, Sports Editor