|Athletics not exempt from delay of school starting|
|Friday, August 3, 2012|
Delaying the start of the school year in Sumner County will have an affect on the area school’s sports teams.
The TSSAA golf season had already begun for Beech, Station Camp and Hendersonville. The Commandos started their season July 24 and the Bison were on the course the next day.
School is scheduled to start Monday and if it is not back in session, those teams already in their season will be forced to suspend play until the school year officially begins.
“From what I understand now we can have practice but no matches,” said Station Camp golf coach Glenn Tuttle, who has his boys squad off to a 5-0 start. “It’s disappointing for the kids but we’re following what the Board wants us to do. We support the Board and what they’re trying to do also.”
As part of a frequently asked questions document available on the Sumner County Schools Website, the question “how does this affect athletics?” is asked. The answer is “Under TSSAA rules, practices may continue, but no games can be played until school begins.”
The halting of the season does not come from the TSSAA – yet. However, Matthew Gillespie, the assistant executive director of the TSSAA, said there will come a point when the organization does have to step in. It is a rule the organization has had in place for over 20 years.
“In regards to us, if they shut down golf that’s their call,” Gillespie said. “It’s the school’s call or school system’s call. Whatever they do right now is in no violation of us. They can keep going.
“After 20 school days, if the school system is still shut down all athletic programs have to shut down, period – practice, competition, everything – based on our Board action.”
Football and soccer scrimmages, volleyball playdays and the buses they may use to travel are still allowed. This only affects those already into their seasons.
The first events to be affected will be the Aug. 7 golf matches that Station Camp has at Country Hills and Beech, Gallatin and Hendersonville have at Long Hollow.
“It will set us back as far as match experience goes,” Tuttle said. “What I’ve been trying to do at this point is trying to play everybody some and see who is performing well during matches. That will set us back not being able to get that match experience, which is vital and also district match experience.”
The first non-golf sporting events are Aug. 14 when Station Camp volleyball is at White House and Merrol Hyde soccer is at Station Camp.
That is also the week of the first football games. Station Camp plays host to Hendersonville as part of My 30’s Thursday Night Lights on Aug. 16. The rest of the teams in the area open up the next night.
Another caveat about the 20 days, were the TSSAA to have to shut all athletics down, then student-athletes would be free to transfer to another school outside the county without the penalty of having to sit out a year, according to Gillespie.
— Corby A. Yarbrough, Sports Editor