Coaches react to possible TSSAA changes

Representatives from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association are meeting this week to discuss a proposal that could split up private and public schools.

The push is coming out of two middle Tennessee counties, but those changes will affect the whole state, including rivalries right here in East Tennessee.

This proposal could impact every sport, changing conference alignment and even where the teams travel. And it could tear apart one specific private and public school rivalry that hits close to home.

In the near future, the Christian Academy of Knoxville football squad could see a different group of opponents. It's something that coach Rusty Bradley is gearing up for.

"Honestly whatever they make the decision to do, it will be a challenge for us and it's something we will embrace and work as hard as we can to try and win a championship," he said.

Bradley thinks the proposal was made to level out the playing field. This isn't the first time they have tried to make a change.

"What they have done in the past is for all private schools who do not give financial aid to athletes, they had their enrollment multiplied by 1.8, and that's bumped them up a classification. and now they are looking to do something else," he said.

The proposal could split private and public, regardless of the financial status. The conference movement could change a big rivalry between CAK and Alcoa High School.

"The last eight years I have been there, we have had great games with them, they are a great program and we certainly enjoy playing them. And if there were to be a split of some kind, I am certainly hopeful we could keep them on our schedule, and play them every year and keep playing the great games that we have had with them," said head football coach of Alcoa H.S. Gary Rankin.

Whether the split happens or not, Bradley says it's great to have rivalries, but it's about more than the people you are playing.

"Honestly once you strap it on and play, you're playing the game regardless of who your opponent is and just being under the Friday night lights is what makes it fun. So I think our guys would adjust and be excited to play whoever we are told to play," said Bradley.

According to a representative with TSSAA, the legislative council will hold a meeting Wednesday, March 13.

He said they received the proposals from schools in January.


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