MURFREESBORO – It was a good day to be a private school at the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Legislative Council meeting — especially one of the 24 currently competing in Division I.
Not only was the proposal for a complete split between public and private schools voted down 5-4, the organization’s 72 independent schools — roughly one-fifth of the TSSAA’s membership — were awarded three seats on both the TSSAA Legislative Council and Board of Control.
“I think the right decision was made,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said. “About 18 or 19 percent of our membership are private schools … Why not give them independent representatives in each of our grand divisions — one in East, one in Middle, one in West.
“It made sense.”
The proposal, originally brought to the TSSAA public-private study committee in March, was passed 7-2 by the council.
“I think we want to provide fairness for all schools that are member schools, and I can imagine they too want a seat at the table,” said Maplewood principal and District 5 representative Ron Woodard, who voted in favor of the proposal.
Science Hill’s Keith Turner, Knoxville Central’s Michael Reynolds, Soddy-Daisy’s Dan Gilbert, Bradford Special Schools’ Dan Black, Hardin County’s William McAdams and Memphis Central’s Greg McCullough also voted in favor of adding private school representatives.
Lewis County assistant principal and athletic director Michael Tatum, along with Watertown athletic director Jeff Luttrell, were the two council members to vote against the proposal.
The election of private school representatives will take place at November’s regional meetings.
“I think that it helps all sides,” Lipscomb Academy Athletic Director Mike Roller said. “To have a group of men that are public school-oriented recognize that there’s a need for private school representation is very encouraging.”
“We’ve had somewhat of a voice without a vote,” Christ Presbyterian Academy Athletic Director Mike Ellson added. “Now we’ll have a voice and a vote.”
Reach Michael Murphy at 615-258-8262 and on Twitter @Murph_TNsports.