The clock is now ticking.
The TSSAA will set the districts and regions for the next four high school seasons on Nov. 15 at its Board of Control meeting.
If Stewarts Creek High School will be included in that list is not yet known.
Stewarts Creek is scheduled to open for the 2013-14 school year and will be the eighth Rutherford County public high school playing football. The county school system did not request membership for the new high school during Monday’s TSSAA Board of Control meeting leaving them until Nov. 15 to seek membership. That is the date the TSSAA will put teams in districts and regions.
If the school system does not request membership by the Nov. 15 meeting, the school would not be eligible for the football playoffs for two seasons and likely would not be able to find a full varsity schedule, forcing them to play junior varsity contests. Generally, after the districts are set football coaches immediately begin to find non-conference games to fill out a 10-game season.
“If they are not approved to play football, they aren’t going to get a district schedule,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said. “Football is the only situation where you have to play your district opponents to qualify for the playoffs.
“The district coordinator generally will schedule a meeting right after the districts are set and those coaches will begin to sign two-year football contracts. Probably, everywhere in the state will meet within a week after the Nov. 15 meeting.”
The school system is beginning to look at zoning options for the school, which is located in southwest Smyrna. Of the four zoning plans reviewed Monday night, the school system staff recommended a plan calling for the school to open with 1,770 students. That would put the school in Class 6A for the football playoffs and Class AAA for other sports. It would likely mean a seventh school would join the all-Rutherford County District 7-AAA.
Rutherford County Schools spokesman James Evans said no decision by Rutherford County Director of Schools Don Odom has been made regarding when the county will seek membership for Stewarts Creek. In fact, those conversations have yet to take place.
“It has not been discussed yet,” Evans wrote in an email. “The district is expected to have a new principal in place by the beginning of (the) next calendar year (2013). Mr. Odom will need to decide if something should be done before then, but he has not yet made a decision.”
If the county waits on a principal to be hired, it will be too late for football.
Childress said the school system can submit a membership request prior to a principal being named. When Siegel High opened in 2003, it had a football schedule before Ken Nolan was named the principal. Former Blackman athletic director Mert Duvall assisted in helping the Stars find an inaugural slate of games. However, when Blackman opened in 2000, the Blaze played just three varsity games their inaugural year because the school opened in the middle of a two-year contract scheduling period.