When Shelbyville High announced it had hired football coach Justin Palmer last week, the school violated the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association rule on the dead period, which was from June 26-July 10.
The TSSAA notified Shelbyville of the violation, which was verified in a YouTube video, and asked the school to submit an extra week of dead period for the football team in 2017 as a penalty for the violation. The school submitted June 18-24 to observe the dead period next year, in addition to the two weeks all schools will be observing.
TSSAA bylaws state that no coaching, observing or contact can occur between coaches and players (in any sport) during the dead period.
Palmer was an assistant at Shelbyville for four years prior to taking the head coaching job at Creek Wood last season.
“If you see the video, you can see how excited the kids were and how excited I was and (athletic director) Coach (Dee) McCullough and (principal) Coach (Whit) Taylor and the whole administration,” said Palmer, who added that it hadn’t occurred to him about the violation until being notified by the TSSAA.
“When you get that excited, oversights happen. We’re ready to move on and put it behind us. We’re going to take our punishment for the next dead period and move on.”
When Jason Hardy resigned in late June, the opening gave Palmer an opportunity to reunite with former players. Those players were surprised and excited, seen bombarding Palmer after he entered the locker room after being announced by McCullough as the new coach.
“When players were texting me asking if I was going to take the job, I played it off (for a surprise),” Palmer said. “They had no idea I was going to take it. When that door opened and I entered the locker room, it was a great reaction.”
In a letter sent from TSSAA, signed by Executive Director Bernard Childress to Shelbyville principal Whit Taylor on Wednesday, the organization “…accepts the administration’s action to require the football program at Shelbyville Central High School to observe an additional week of the Dead Period from June 18, 2017 to June 24, 2017.” The issue was also deemed closed by the organization.
Shelbyville went 7-4 last season, falling to Hendersonville in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.