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Coaches OK with keeping current football start, end

Next season's high school football schedule won't be moved up two weeks, a decision that sits well with three Westside head coaches.

TSSAA Board of Control voted down a proposed amendment to Article IV, Section 8 (sports calendar) in football to move date of season openers up two weeks to the week of Sept. 8, during its Wednesday, Dec. 8 meeting.

Other Board decisions include allowing athletic participation by home-schooled students, while reducing dead periods (required workout inactivity) in all sports. (More details on dead period changes later in story).

Eddie Courtney, Farragut Football head coach, said “it's no big deal, just leave it the way it is” instead of moving up the season two weeks, which would have concluded with state titles games in mid-December.

“Each year is different, sometimes in August it's a little cooler than other [years],” Courtney added. “The biggest thing is a temperature deal, and coming out of a two-week dead period.

“As it gets closer, it gets colder, for the state championship game.”

Dave Meske, head coach of Webb School of Knoxville whose team has played in December two straight seasons (Division II-A title game), said, “When you start moving the football playoffs so late in December, what happens is it gets into the basketball season.

“For me, the less crossover of sports the better because we want to encourage everyone to play more than one sport,” added Meske, also Webb athletic director.

Rusty Bradley, Christian Academy of Knoxville head coach, expressed concern “that if they did that it would make the season obviously longer for the kids because you're still doing your work in the summer.

“Now, the season [would have been] two weeks longer; physically, guys just have a hard time holding up in football just because of the physicality of the sport,” Bradley added. “Also, it just makes it harder for guys that are involved in basketball. It obviously hurts the basketball programs at the schools as well.”

The Board also denied a proposed change to Article I, Section 9, that would have allowed head coaches in football, baseball, basketball, softball, and track and field not be faculty members of that school. Coaches in those sports are required to have a state teaching license or equivalent.


Board approved proposed change in Article IV, Section 8 of TSSAA Bylaws, reducing all sports' dead periods from three separate dead periods to two dead periods during one calendar year.

Board kept two-week period intact surrounding July 4 and three-week dead periods immediately following the end of each sport's season. The change also reduces all sports’ dead periods from eight weeks to five weeks.

“To me that was also a good decision,” Meske said. “When you get kids in the weight room, then you take off three weeks, then you get them back in the weight room, they loose what they've gained.

“It's just became hard to monitor when you could be in the weight room and when you couldn't for all different sports. Especially for a school like us who have athletes who are encouraged to play two or three sports.”

For fall sports, proposal eliminates three-week dead period from mid-February to start of March; winter sports, eliminates three-week dead period from end of July to middle of August; spring sports, eliminates three-week dead period from end of October to mid-November.


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