The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Legislative Council voted against a complete split of public and private schools within the Tennessee high school athletic organization at a meeting Thursday.
The resolution, which stemmed from Lewis County and Trousdale County’s March 2014 proposal to change Article 1, Section 3 of the TSSAA Bylaws – which stated “all public schools shall play in Division I, and all non-public schools shall play in Division II” – was defeated by a 5 to 4 margin.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m glad we’re staying together right now,” said Goodpasture athletic director Clint Parnell, whose private school competes in Division I. “Both the publics and privates need it. There were some different issues brought up today, and I hope we can all work together with those. There are tough choices. There are so many different variables. Publics and privates need a better working relationship. There’s such strong feelings on both sides.”
The board will meet again in September to discuss other plans that were proposed, including an urban/rural split.
Soddy-Daisy’s Dan Gilbert, Lewis County’s Mike Tatum, Watertown’s Jeff Luttrell and Science Hill’s Keith Turner voted for a complete split. Those who voted against the split were Bradford Special Schools’ Dan Black, Knoxville Central’s Michael Reynolds, Memphis Central’s Greg McCullough, Maplewood’s Ron Woodard and Hardin County’s William McReynolds.
The proposal to add three private school representative to both the TSSAA Board of Control and Legislative Council passed 7-2 at the meeting.
The TSSAA has studied the issue the issue for the past 17 months, and presented the council with five potential plans at last month’s work session, included tweaking the current system, a complete split, a postseason split, an urban-rural split and implementing a postseason success-advancement component.
The changes will not take effect until the 2017 school year.