In a called meeting of the Board of Control of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association July 22, 2020, at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro, the body considered several COVID-19 related items on their agenda.
With 100% of voting members present chaired by Principal Mike Reed, the Board passed unanimously these items:
Whether or not to adopt the regulations/modifications put together by staff and Governor’s team for all fall sports. Voted Yes.
Enabling eligibility for schools that have delayed opening or having students taking virtual-only courses. Yes, schools are eligible.
Girls’ Soccer Contingency Plan to extend regular season two weeks and conduct Girls State Soccer Championships on November 11-14, 2020. Passed. August 10 would be the “drop dead” date if there is no change to the Governor’s order, and schools would be encouraged to finish their maximum number of regular season games if unable to qualify or eliminated from the state championships.
Which option to use for football if schools are not able to start practice by August 3 due to state of emergency in Tennessee and “we cannot have a full season.” Option 2-hybrid was passed unanimously. Option 2 has a practice start date of August 30, and a season start date of September 18, 2020, with the TSSAA setting region schedules and Region winners and runners up would be placed in a 16-team playoff bracket, but if the order is lifted earlier, the hybrid scenario eliminates the first week only and “everybody keeps their same schedules.,” and a 32-team format is used for the playoffs.
Team unable to play a game due to COVID-19 outbreak in regular or postseason play. Voted to adopt a “no contest,” with team unable to play having no won/loss for that game, but opponents would get a win. If during playoffs, a bye would be inserted into the bracket.
As 2,330 viewers observed via youtube across the state, Executive Director Bernard Childress pointed out that”there is no chess match” ongoing between the TSSAA legal team and the Governor’s office over fall sports. He said the Governors reps had agreed to all proposals put forth at the meeting.
If, in fact, the governor lifts the state of emergency prior to August 29, the fall sports seasons could proceed as originally planned. If the Governor extends the order, “we’ll have another called meeting,” said Childress.
The difficulty of scheduling and the spectre of creating a scheduling nightmare loomed large over the football options deliberations, noting that most coaches just wanted to know when they can start.
After one hour and 37 minutes to discuss and vote on these options, the Board took a break before considering reclassification of schools in future years, which was the original purpose of the July 22 meeting.