Dan Black has been through similar situations before.
In his day job, he’s the superintendent of Bradford Special Schools District.
When he’s not administrating Bradford schools, he’s the president of the TSSAA’s Legislative Council.
He’s been on the committee since 2000, which is plenty of time to hear complaints from schools wanting to split with private schools a few times, because it does cycle every few years.
He’s probably heard a lot of the information that’s been dispensed in recent weeks for research purposes in other forms before, but each time is just as important as the one before it. Because once the TSSAA splits if it ever does, that will be not just a red-letter day, but the brightest shade of red you can think of to highlight the magnitude of that day.
“I think it would be absolutely impossible,” Black said when asked if he thought the TSSAA could combine for one class again if it did split totally between private and public schools. “Once you make that decision, I guess you can go back if enough people decide they want to do it.
“But there would be a lot of things you’d have to undo. It would be hard.”
That’s why Black said he voted against the split, which he wasn’t sure as recently as Tuesday which way he’d go.
“The TSSAA proposed a handful of changes to the bylaws which could help some of the concerns schools have, and I think we need to see if those changes work before we take the step of splitting everybody,” Black said. “The split needs to be the absolute last thing we try to do to make this thing work, if it even is an option of things we need to do.”
There are probably a lot of unhappy people connected to high school sports across the state in the wake of this vote because every district’s school zone had to have an overwhelming majority in favor of the split. That’s only logical when you consider private schools make up about 20 percent of the entire TSSAA, and the schools in Division II are probably in favor of the split to bring more teams into competition.
But each Legislative Council member has two objectives when they sit at that table and cast their votes: do what’s best for their district and what’s best for the TSSAA. And while a lot of people in five of the nine districts might think their representative failed in the first one, they didn’t in the second one, which means they didn’t in the first one either. A district can’t thrive if the TSSAA isn’t.
So to the five who voted against the split, including Black and Hardin County’s William McAdams, you did the right thing. Drastic times call for drastic measures. This probably isn’t a drastic time, particularly when you have not-so-drastic options you can take beforehand.
Brandon Shields is the high school sports columnist for The Jackson Sun. Contact him at 425-9751 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or on Instagram at jacksonsunsports.