By Chris Yow
Make it make sense, TSSAA.
What, you ask? All of it — heck, any of it.
Recently, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association alerted spring sports — baseball, softball, boys soccer, tennis and track — coaches there would not be any preseason scrimmages allowed prior to their regular seasons. Football coaches were told there would be no scrimmages allowed against other schools to culminate their spring practices.
The problem with this is there is absolutely nothing about it that makes any logical sense.
Can the TSSAA Board of Control give any logical reason for restricting competition between two teams who are about to embark on 18-game regular seasons? If so, I’d love to hear it.
What about football teams, who will have practiced with each other for two weeks playing against another school’s players who have practiced without incident for two weeks? Sorry, no go. No matter that it’s the last thing those kids will do regarding football until summer workouts.
It isn’t like they’re going to be any safer playing an intrasquad game than against an opponent without any cases among their team. Certainly not any safer than they will be in August.
It seems at every turn the TSSAA has made illogical decisions while also making sound decisions regarding regular-season play.
But if the regular season is OK to play, why wouldn’t a scrimmage be OK? It’s as controlled as any form of competition in which the student-athletes will take part.
COVID-19 is certainly an issue across our state, but throughout the 2020-21 school year, the TSSAA has done some of its best work. Working with Governor Bill Lee’s office to make sure parents can attend games was good work. Getting an entire football season played was even more impressive, especially as the season drew to a close and cases were going up across Tennessee.
As basketball season has continued through game and tournament cancellations and postponements, at least the governing body has stuck with their original plan to leave it up to local school systems. What the Governor’s office has done, though, with regard to cheerleaders and dance teams is a little disheartening. Those two entities are not allowed in the gyms, and I understand that adding parents of those kids can lead to larger crowds, but we’re letting in players’ grandparents — which could theoretically be as many as eight people — and more faculty. Get the cheerleaders off the end lines and socially distance them in the bleachers in an area specifically designated for them.
I know the TSSAA wasn’t really the culprit in those situations, it’s the Governor’s office.
Spring sports nonsense, however, is all on the TSSAA… and I just can’t make it make sense.
Chris Yow is the multi-media editor of SM-Tn Sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChrisYow14.