TSSAA Work Session Addresses Debate Regarding Public/Private School Classification

TSSAAThe Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association(TSSAA) met Thursday for a work session to discuss potential solutions for the hotly-debated issue of public and private high schools continuing to compete in the same division.  Five proposals were presented to the TSSAA Legislative Council at Thursday’s work session in Murfreesboro which lasted nearly 5 hours.

The five proposals that were presented were:

1 – Keep the system the way it is: Schools that provide need-based financial aid will remain in Division II, while all other schools will compete in Division I.

2 – Postseason split: Public and private schools would compete together during the regular season, then be separated for the postseason.

3 – Complete split: Separate public and private schools in the regular season and postseason. It would force the state’s 24 private schools that compete in Division I to join Division II.

4 – Successive advancement: Move all schools together and devise a formula that would bump schools up in classification based on their on-field success. Several states utilize this model.

5 – Urban-rural split: Separate schools based on whether they are considered an rural or urban institution, which would be determined by the population density of the area surrounding the school. School’s with a population density less than 400 people per square mile would be considered rural schools, while those with more than 400 people per square mile would be considered urban.

Nothing was decided, and no vote was taken at Thursday’s meeting, but TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress did reveal that the Legislative Council’s final vote would take place July 16 at 1 p.m. at the Doubletree in Murfreesboro.  The repercussions, in regards to the structure of TSSAA from any public/private split, are unclear.  Thunder Radio will continue to follow this story in the upcoming months.