All Tullahoma middle school fall sports teams have been removed from their respective Central Tennessee Conference Tournaments and Tullahoma Volleyball has been forced to forfeit their CTC tournament championship.
According to the TSSAA because the TMS girls soccer, volleyball and cross-country teams are listed as club sports; they are ineligible to compete for conference titles.
“Tullahoma East Middle School and Tullahoma West Middle School are not allowed to compete against TMSAA member schools in the sports of cross-country, tennis, soccer, golf, baseball, softball, bowling, volleyball, and wrestling until their School Board approves those sports,” said TSSAA Executive Director Richard McWhirter in a letter to TCS Athletic Director John Olive. “Additionally, the schools must recognize these sports by having school-sponsored teams and must follow all TMSAA Bylaws for these sports. Furthermore, if Tullahoma East Middle School and Tullahoma West Middle School continue to field teams in these sports as club teams instead of school-sponsored teams, TSSAA officials will not be assigned to work in those contests.”
Tullahoma is the the only member of the CTC in those sports that is not a member of the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association.
“My heart hurts for these girls because they have worked so hard and set themselves up for success,” said TCS Director of Schools Dr. Catherine Stephens. “We have participated for about 18 years as club sports with no issues, but our teams will no longer be participating in CTC competition this fall. While I know they are hurt now, these young ladies should hold their heads high and know that they are true champions.”
“Those head coaches and I spoke to the student-athletes affected at both East and West middle schools,” said Olive. “They were tough discussions to have because our students did nothing wrong. We plan to honor these athletes individually as they deserve to be celebrated.
Currently, Tullahoma middle school football, basketball, track and field, and Cheerleading are affiliated with the TMSAA. TMS wrestling is aligned with the AAU.
Tullahoma City Schools are working to making sure that all eligible teams are associated with the TMSAA moving forward.
“Last spring, we started researching what it was going to take to move the remaining eligible teams to be TMSAA affiliated. We did not make that transition before fall sports got underway, Olive Said.” However, we are working to make this move as soon as possible so our athletes can compete this spring and going forward under the TMSAA.”
“I am disheartened that this occurred this fall,” Dr. Stephens said. “District administrators, the TCS School
Board and myself are working to ensure this does not happen again for any of our Tullahoma teams.”