By: Lee Ramsey
Life isn’t fair, especially when it comes to the TSSAA and high school sports.
Have you ever stopped to think why certain high schools win more than others; especially the private schools? It isn’t an accident or always good coaching. Why do they usually have superior talent? It is because the private schools offer special benefits to student athletes, the best student athletes to play for them.
You say that’s illegal? If private schools charge tuition for students to attend their school, and that school tells student athletes they don’t have to pay if they play a sport for them, which is an enticement to that student to play there, then that is recruiting which is a TSSAA violation for any public school.
Private schools skirt the scholarship issue by offering the athlete a student work program where students do work for the school in exchange for the school to waive their tuition. Of course the real intent is to get the super athlete to play for their school.
Private schools can recruit and public schools can’t. Does that even remotely sound fair? Is that a level playing field? There’s nothing like some teams going by one set of rules and other teams going by different rules.
Why doesn’t the TSSAA do something about this? They were given an opportunity to do so several years ago when this issue came to a head. Over 250 Coaches voted overwhelmingly to put private schools in their own separate league since they used a different set of rules.
A committee of nine was formed made up of school administrators who voted on the issue. Private schools won the vote by one to continue competing with public schools in sports.
Just like everything else in our country today, the minority controls the majority.
In 2005, Seymour was denied a state championship because of this inequitable system as the Golf team finished runner-up in the TSSAA State Golf Championship.
The team finished behind Nashville Goodpasture, a private school in middle Tennessee.
If Nashville Goodpasture had been playing in a league for private schools like they should have, Seymour would have won their first state championship and to this present date, their only state championship.
If you went to the Seymour, CAK football game last Friday night the difference in size, speed and athleticism was obvious, not to mention CAK’s outstanding quarterback who is one of the best in the state.
Public vs. private school athletics has been an ongoing argument for years. This certainly isn’t the first time it has been discussed.
Why hasn’t something been done?
There are always two sides to a discussion. Supposedly the problem is that there are too few private schools to form their own league within a reasonable distance from each other.
Surely there are other options if the TSSAA and school administrators got their heads together.
One thing is certain. As the situation stands at present there is definitely not a level playing field. Private schools have a huge advantage over public schools because they play by different rules.
Lee Ramsey is a free lance writer and contributor to the Seymour Herald. He has lived in the Seymour Community since 1977. He has coached golf, basketball, football and soccer and taken an active part in Seymour Schools for over twenty years.
Not a Level Playing Field
By: Lee Ramsey