UPDATE: TSSAA delays vote on football, girls’ soccer contingency plans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s board of control did not vote on a contingency plan for the fall contact sports and instead chose to wait in accordance with the advice they were given by Gov. Bill Lee’s legal counsel and office staff.

TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said the board has time and the governor’s staff is aware of the high school sports governing body’s schedule.

“We need to give them the opportunity to do what they need to do and watch the data,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said. “If we have any chance on having fall sports … people need to wear masks, social distance and wash their hands. We need to get our (positive COVID-19 case) numbers down. That would be key.”

TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress detailed four options for football at a board of directors meeting last week. The options cover Division I (public schools) and Division II (private schools). The TSSAA is looking at adaptations for the fall girls’ soccer and football season.

The board then adjourned after 6 minutes of discussion.

Option 1: 

  • Teams would play a seven-game regular season.
  • TSSAA would scrap each teams current schedule and set region schedules for all member schools.
  • The postseason would start on time and feature a 32-team postseason bracket.
  • For teams that do not make the postseason, there would be the option to play two additional games to play a nine-game season. 

Option 2: 

  • Teams would play an eight-game regular season.
  • TSSAA would scrap each teams current schedule and set region schedules for all member schools.
  • One week of the postseason would be cut out and feature a 16-team postseason bracket.
  • Only region champs and region runner-ups would qualify for the playoffs.
  • For teams that do not make the postseason, there would be the option to play two additional games to play a 10-game schedule.

Option 3: 

  • Teams would play the normal nine-game regular season.
  • Teams would keep their current schedules.
  • Two weeks of the postseason would be cut out and feature an eight-team postseason bracket
  • Only region champions would qualify for the playoffs and the postseason would start in the quarterfinals.
  • For teams that do not make the postseason, there would be the option to play one additional game to play a 10-game schedule. This addition of a game is already in the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association bylaws for teams that have a non-losing record and fail to qualify for the playoffs.

Option 4:

  • The TSSAA board of directors was presented with a fourth option that included not having a postseason, but Childress added that it has been an unpopular option. Childress encouraged the board to make a decision as to which option they’d like to pursue by July 8.

The possibility of swapping springs sports to the fall and vice versa was looked but complications of turning around the next year and playing football in back-to-back seasons posed issues as well as issues with teams playing games against out-of-state schools.

For girls’ soccer, Childress said the TSSAA is looking at the possibility of extending the season. Pending the Governor’s order expires on Aug. 29, the TSSAA has already been in contact with sites where championships are held to potentially move those dates back.

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