published Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Signal Mountain High School football team stripped of 6 wins by TSSAA

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association has notified Signal Mountain High School that its football program is guilty of playing an ineligible player and must vacate all six wins this season.

According to Executive Director Bernard Childress, two TSSAA assistant directors spent several hours at the school conducting interviews Thursday. The TSSAA staff met early Friday morning and Childress faxed the official letter of notice Friday afternoon.

The ineligible player is 6-foot-2, 240-pound running back and linebacker Tim McClendon, who transferred form Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe during the summer and started for Signal Mountain in all seven games this season.

He will not be allowed to play in any more football games for the Eagles.

“Whoever at Signal Mountain filled out the online transfer form made a mistake,” Childress said. “All of our eligibility forms are submitted by the administration of our schools. In this case whoever filled it out clicked ‘yes’ that the student-athlete’s new residence is inside Signal Mountain’s zone. It’s not. Once we checked to see exactly where his house is, we realized he’s in Brainerd’s zone, not Signal Mountain’s, and declared him ineligible immediately.

“He had originally been ruled eligible, but the original information we had received was incorrect, so we had to come back and change the status.”

Childress added that McClendon’s athletic eligibility status had nothing to do with the No Child Left Behind law.

A vacated win is treated from the penalized school’s standpoint as though the game were not played. Opponents still count the losses on their records.

“We really haven’t had a chance to meet with anyone else yet, but I really don’t think there’s an appeal, to be honest,” Signal Mountain Principal Tom McCullough said late Friday afternoon. “There has been talk in our community to look at legal action, but the TSSAA has a pretty good legal history so I’m not sure that’s an option.

“We sent in all the information and were told the student-athlete was clear to play, so it will take a while to process all this that’s just happened.”

Before Friday’s ruling, Signal Mountain was 6-1 overall, 3-0 in District 7-AA and ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 4A. The Eagles became officially 0-1 going into Friday night’s game at Polk County.

Last season, the Eagles won the Class 2A state championship.

They have just two regular-season games remaining, against district foes Chattanooga Christian and Sequatchie County.

Under the TSSAA’s playoff criteria, even if the Eagles win, they would not qualify for the postseason because only the top two teams from each district earn automatic playoff berths. All other teams must qualify based on overall record.

Bledsoe County and Sequatchie County each has two district wins and more overall victories already than Signal Mountain and will claim the two automatic spots. The Eagles won’t have enough victories to claim a wild card.

Because the school did not turn itself in for the violation, there will be a $700 fine, $100 per game, for playing an ineligible player.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...

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sandstorm66 said...

Play by the rules thats all you have to do !!!! Just be thankful that they haven't checked other sports on the mtn.

October 8, 2011 at 1:22 a.m.

And everybody better hope they don't check other schools' athletic rosters.

October 8, 2011 at 2:58 a.m.
Footballfan2011 said...

The one thing that I do not understand. If a reporter for the Timesfree Press makes a mistake. Would the Timesfree Press fire all of the reporters for the one persons mistake. This is a example theory of why punish all the players who have worked so hard to get where their at because the school or parent failed to make sure the form was filled out and turn in to the state. I know that a lot of people will be very happy about what happen. But just keep in mind, this action punishes all the teen players who had no idea what was going on and have worked their butt off to get to this level.I really hope that it is pushed for all the local Schools to be checked real close for the same type violations and even other local County's. Someone needs to make sure that this happens.

October 8, 2011 at 4:55 a.m.
memphisexile said...

Signal Mountain cheated and got punished. They deserve it. I really find it hard to believe that coaches who interact with this kid every day did not know where he lived. I feel bad for the other kids on the team who were eligible to play and are now being punished. SMHS better check all their athletes to make sure they are eligible, if this was not a mistake and they are playing kids who shouldn't be there in other sports I hope the school gets an even worse punishment. One good thing has come out of this though, every kid on that team now knows the follies of cheating. I hope they were paying attention.

October 8, 2011 at 9 a.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

I feel bad for the players, parents, school officials, and supporters who played by the rules. I hope the Signal Mountain community realizes that this is the fault of the coaches who allowed the player, the player and his family, and any and all school officials who knew he was out of zone and said nothing - not TSSAA. They only cleared him based on the faulty information given by the school. In the future, I hope Signal Mountain and all other schools who cheat - or are tempted to cheat - consider the consequences for everyone involved. All other schools would be smart to double check the eligibility of their players. It is a shame that everyone must be punished, but I do not see any other way to deal with the situation other than to vacate the wins. It is simply unfair to allow Signal Mountain to continue to the post-season since we can't know for sure if they would have won those other games without the ineligible player. I would say the same if it were my school.

October 8, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

TFP should query one Hamilton County School Board member (and rabid Signal Mountain Eagles fan) Donn Calvin "Some Call Him 'Chip'" Baker to determine at what point he became aware of this flagrant and troublesome rule-breaking and how he feels about it personally and politically...

October 8, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.
crow1033 said...

HCDE 'zoned' Tim McClendon to SMMHS with a hardship approval; therefore, SMMHS thought he was eligible to play. SMMHS coaches wouldn't have compromised the program on such an easy check. Trust me, if someone on Signal Mountain wanted Tim that badly, he would have been living on Signal Mountain, no matter the cost! Shame on TFP for not reporting ALL the facts to make it look like SMMHS are "cheaters". Guess it sells more papers to people like memphisexile who simply HATE Signal Mountain. The tragedy of this is that the teenage players will bear the brunt of this ruling. So glad that so many of you feel vindicated by this ruling and can go back to your pristine sports programs at your school.... oh, wait, let's not start checking players at other Hamilton County schools... may not end up with anyone eligible to go to playoffs!

October 8, 2011 at 9:42 a.m.
fortheboys said...

Strongif you do NO wrong you don't get punished. What is importnt is that all kids and parents and those who are responsible to make he higher decisions know that if you do wrong you have to suffer the consequence. Our future is watching so doing right is key here. *Emphasis*Strong

October 8, 2011 at 10:07 a.m.
freepressreader said...

The Signal Mountain A.D. screwed this one up. It's a shame for all of the boys involved, including Tim McClendon.

October 8, 2011 at 10:19 a.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

Crow, students do not become "zoned" through a hardship or any other process. You are either zoned - meaning you live in the district - or not. Students who attend an out of zone school for whatever reason (NCLB, hardship, etc.) do so on a waiver. Anyone who has been in schools for even the smallest amount of time should know the difference - especially a head coach. They should have marked the form as out of zone and listed the waiver and reason for it. The reason TSSAA asks for the clarification is so that they can verify the reason for the waiver as legitimate or not (i.e. was a "harship" granted because of actual need or because the player is a good athlete and was recruited by the "better" school). It may very well have been a simple mistake rather than an attempt to cheat, but the fact remains that Signal Mountain broke the rules and has to suffer the consequences for that violation.

October 8, 2011 at 10:35 a.m.
Signal4Ever said...

Tim Mclendon was confirmed to attend Signal Mountain due to hardship. Should he have to choose between playing football and having a good education? If he attended Signal, he should be able to play there. I'm sorry if some other people or schools have grudges against Signal Mountain, but what if this were happening to you? Everyone started to turn on us after we kept winning. If you want to lecture us about sportsmanship, learn how to lose gracefully first.

October 8, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.
Logan72 said...

Tax revenues are down. Educational budgets are being cut. Teachers are being laid off. Yet, SMMHS has an opening for a PE teacher for the 2011-2012 school year. This position is filled by a man that just so happens to be the 'mentor' of a football star. The PE teacher is also paid a stipend to be a coach on the Signal Mountain football team. The football star is 'delivered' to Signal Mountain in exchange for the teaching position. The only possible way to make anything of value come out of this pathetic mess is for those involved to resign.There are some good people associated with the Signal Mountain football that have a value system and try to positive role models for

October 8, 2011 at 10:53 a.m.
sandstorm66 said...

Ok the kid may or may not have known he was eligible for the mtn. Maybe SMHS is the prep version of the Miami Hurricanes of 2000's? Look what one rogue booster did for them or are they the SMU of the 80's? Instead of the pony express at SMU it's the Eagle's Express on the mtn???

October 8, 2011 at 11 a.m.
Facts said...

There was an opinion piece in titled, "How not to have a Walmart kid." We need to see one that's titled, "How not to be a Signal Mtn parent & kid that changes the rules to win." You snobs who think Walmart folks are so bad, look in the mirror, you pampered fakes.

October 8, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.
sandstorm66 said...

Preach it brother!!!!! Facts has it right???

October 8, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.
ldurham said...
  1. The young man in question lives in a home zoned for Brainerd.
  2. Signal Mtn. told the TSSAA he was zoned for Howard (so he could go to Signal, their partnered school)
  3. TSSAA investigated, discovered the lie that Signal had told.

I love all these weeping Signal folks who say "boo hoo, he just came to Signal to get a better education." Tell ya what: let's send all the disadvantaged inner city youths up on the mtn to get a better education, whether they can play football or not. Problem solved, right?

October 8, 2011 at 11:20 a.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

Actually, the principal AND central office have to sign off on the hardship - and everyone knows that unless it is a school facing severe overcrowding, central office basically rubber stamps the request. Perhaps that policy should also be looked into.

October 8, 2011 at 11:39 a.m.
meganrael said...

Didn't the TFP have an article a couple weeks ago about home schooled kids playing for public school teams? We can allow someone who is home schooled to play for a team they don't even belong to, but we can't allow a student to play for his school's team? This town is messed up.

October 8, 2011 at 11:48 a.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

A homeschooled student can only try out and possibly play for the team in his/her zoned school.

The issue is not that he shouldn't be allowed to play, the issue is that the TSSAA paperwork was not filled out correctly - either intentionally or unintentionally. If the paperwork had been filled out correctly and TSSAA had verified his status, then it would not have been an issue at all and Signal Mountain would likely be going to the playoffs.

October 8, 2011 at 11:55 a.m.
ldurham said...

Dear TFP: I know it would be an inconvenience for you to do some actual investigative reporting. But if you ever get in the mood, here's a story you can do that would answer a lot of questions regarding the Signal Mtn. scandal.

What exactly was the "hardship" in this case? What sort of hardship must a Brainerd area student have that would necessitate his attendance at a school, not one mile away (Brainerd), not 8 miles away (Ooltewah), but instead... what hardship required him to travel a longer distance than several public high schools near his home? What hardship dictated that he go downtown, cross a river, climb a mountain, and be driven through backroads to a secluded mountain school....that just happens to have a "championship" football program?

Isn't this the real story? What constitutes a hardship? Can any student get one, or must they be an all-star football player? One who mysteriously moves from Georgia to Brainerd, and due to "hardship" ends up playing for Signal Mountain?

October 8, 2011 at noon
sra1952 said...

Fire the Principal, fire the coach, who cares, think about it, the lives and hopes of fifty to sixty fellow players were just ripped apart, which none of them had a part in this. And yes, I am an outsider, with nothing to gain, I just feel for the kids!

October 8, 2011 at 12:08 p.m.
dude_abides said...

Well, that's all these kids need now, as they try to close ranks and finish out the season... people looking into whether any favors were done for this young man like gas money to commute up the mountain if he drives, or transportation dispatched to pick him up if he doesn't. The effects of the distraction are already apparent, considering the Eagles (#33 state ranking) loss to Polk County (#112 state ranking) Friday night. The parents and supporters of SMHS have an obligation to rally around the kids and make the best of a bad high school athletic experience, but it's hard to blame the objective outsider for wondering whether this is the tip of the iceberg, and whether the TSSAA should audit the entire athletic program.

October 8, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.
meganrael said...

I think looking into favors done for the boy and his family is just ridiculous. Did people ever consider that LFO isn't a championship team and that if he could be the star player on a championship team his senior year, he'd have a better chance of getting a good scholarship to college? Looking for things that aren't there is just going to cause more problems than needed for everyone involved.

October 8, 2011 at 1:46 p.m.
WHS1970 said...

Maybe the reason smhs lost last night is because they were on a level playing field, without their ace in the hole. If smhs had shown any sportsmanship at all these last couple of years, then people would not be on their case so bad. That being said, I'm glad they were exposed for what they are CHEATERS!!!!!

October 8, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.
think said...

This whole things goes much deeper than this one event, remember the issue with SM and SD...TSSAA was not happy with the response from SM and SM was already "on watch" IMO the punishment too harsh not the players fault the ADULTS should be taking to fall (non of them are newbies all have been around ALONG time! This is a copy of from the players FB page (GOOD KID) not his fault. He will go far. We are proud of you! (his FB post) "God it is all up to u, i know its been a long day 4 me but God i just want to thank u for letting me be apart of signal. it has been the best thing that could have ever happend to me when i came up, something had told me this is the place that u want me to be at and i can say it was an still is even though im not playin ball right now. Im still going to be with my team and my family of signal no matter what but i just want to thank all yall for letting me be apart of yalls family an taking me in as a good friend up hear. i just want to say i love all yall an thank u for being there for me. love yall."

October 8, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
sandstorm66 said...

Leave God out of it you "FRIGGING CHEATED" Signal Mtn. H.S., the team's boosters,coaching staff, administration are the spoilers here. Why don't we just bus all the kids from Brainerd, Howard and who ever else wants to play sports to the mtn and bust the lily white bubble those people live inside of on Signal Mtn!!!!!

October 8, 2011 at 2:21 p.m.
lawstudent43 said...

For the person who said the principal should be fired along with the coach, you obviously don't know the principal. I have three kids in Signal High, and I have never seen a principal behave in a more upstanding, kind-hearted, and humble manner. No school has such a good person for a leader as he is. However, though my kids have never had Coach Price for anything, they do tell me he has a reputation for being a pain in the butt. I do not believe the principal had anything to do with this. He is FAR more interested in the IB level academics and getting that school to a pre-college level than he will ever be with the football program. His aspiration, which he has stated many times, is to see every graduating student from Signal go to collge. He cares about these kids and this school deeply. No, Signal Mt. does not deserve to have this good, honest, Christian leader taken from us. Those making snide remarks about people on the Mt., when you don't know us, need to look in the mirror. You claim we're snobs, but you're the one slandering us on a public site. I don't call that being good at all. Whatever school zone you represent, I feel sorry for the kids there who will grow up thinking your hatfulness toward others is the way to be. You probably learned it from your parents who learned it from theirs.

October 8, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.
lawstudent43 said...

Sandstorm66 - pardon me, dummy, but there are many blacks who play football at Signal Mt. and who live and work up here. You obviously have no knowlege of the Mt. You speak racists terms and spew out racial hatred against an entire community you don't know. As for our "lily-white bubble", I guess we could all bus our kids to the projects so that they can take drugs and get shot by street gangs and hustlers. The only bubble that needs to get busted is the crime and drug infested parts of town. Pardon us if we try to live good, clean lives on the Mt. I certainly make NO apology for being white, for living on Signal, or for our school. You're a racist who is jealous. It doesn't get much uglier than that.

October 8, 2011 at 3:09 p.m.
dl said...

Would there be any any interest in this story if it was about an academic club/team? The band? The truth is while a lot of people have mentioned academics and good reasons for maybe being at a different school, this is just about football. Please SM administration, use this as a teaching lesson, don't just pass the blame. Take responsibility if you are to blame.

October 8, 2011 at 5:34 p.m.
allears said...

Sounds like they need to invistigate the baseball team as well. I again agree how is it a hardship to attend a school just a couple of miles from your house, but not a hardship to drive twenty miles up the mountain? Quit pointing fingers and own up to the mistakes. Shame on those who knew and know where any of these athletes live that or out of zone. This has nothing to do with NCLB it has to do with only wanting W's for the athletic teams. For a community who wanted a school so bad why do you condone kids from outside the community coming in and taking community kids places on the playing field? Makes absolutely no sense at all....

October 8, 2011 at 5:51 p.m.
Humphrey said...

the best examples of "hey, I just don't get it" happen when someone says they aren't racist and then say a bunch of racist smack to try and prove it.

October 8, 2011 at 6:39 p.m.
tnhope01 said...

I feel sorry for the young man.The coaches and school should have known the tssaa rules.I don't care much for Price.

October 8, 2011 at 6:59 p.m.
stoneface said...

I am a Signal Mountain resident. I certainly resent all the SM hate on these pages. Tim is a great kid and an innocent young man. The boys on the team are certainly innocent. But there are all kinds of rules we have to follow in this life and if we are going to teach the kids anything, they need to know there are consequences to breaking those rules. The kids can learn a lot from their parents failures in this case. I wish my fellow Signal Mountain parents would admit to the truth and think about ethical behavior, daisys, flowers, and the things that really matter in this life.

October 8, 2011 at 7:57 p.m.
athinkingwoman said...

I do feel very sorry for the kids on the team and for the young man involved. I don't know who at SMHS knew what and when they knew it. I live on Signal Mountain and I have been disturbed by the emphasis on football over everything else at SMHS. I have noted since the beginning of the program the tendency of Coach Price to run up the score against their opponents--that tells you something about his character and the type of coach he is. I also noted the incident involving some drinking by football players that didn't result in any type of suspension from playing, and an incident involving an altercation between SMHS parents and parents from another school that seemed to be brushed aside in a similar fashion. I'm sure that someone will say I don't know all the facts and that those incidents were handled appropriately. Yes, I don't know all the facts, but after a while, all of these incidents add up to create the sense that football is way too important at SMHS, and that Coach Price needs to be reined in. Tom McCullough is a fine man and an outstanding principal, and I hope he is able to use this as a teachable moment concerning the relative importance of the football program to the school and in the lives of the students and the families.

October 8, 2011 at 9:19 p.m.
stoneface said...

Thinking woman: I couldn't agree more with you. I think our kids deserve more and better discipline.

October 8, 2011 at 9:23 p.m.
TDMan said...

The vitriol on this site is deplorable, and of no credit to anyone claiming the proud name of a Tennessean. Come to think about maybe all the tripe is being entered by Georgians.

October 8, 2011 at 10:08 p.m.

When will ethics be placed on a pedestal like sports in our schools?

October 8, 2011 at 11:18 p.m.

yeee budy dem rich folk on signal shurr got showed ddntt they? wth them outta the pictrue my indians will finally make the playoffs!

October 9, 2011 at 1:17 a.m.
signalmtn said...

you people are pathetic. grown adults and you're acting worse than high schoolers. Why don't you stop staring at your computer screen all day and actually try and make your school as good as ours? I'm not sorry we have a good program and some people want to come and have an opportunity to be looked at and get a scholarship to go to college. I'm certainly not sorry the mountain is what it is. We're a great school and we should be proud of our accomplishments. You can criticize us all you want but we, unlike you, are a strong community that care about each other and you can try but you won't tear us down.

October 9, 2011 at 1:20 a.m.
signalmtn said...

good job sequatchie. now you can win state!!!! oh wait...

October 9, 2011 at 1:28 a.m.
Footballfan2011 said...

No matter what anyone thinks or does about this. This will be life long memory for the young men who play on that Football team. The student was approved to go to the school and Signal Mountain High had no say in it. It is also called ( No Child Left Behind ). There is and has been students bused and drive to the school everyday from East Lake and Howard area. This has been done for the past 5 to 6 years. This also goes on in other schools as well. I am sure that other violations in other schools will surface real soon. Look, like I said this is teenagers that everybody is talking about and they are reading this stuff as well. If you are cleared to go to the school, you should be able to participate in school activities. Tim was cleared to go to this school by the Hamilton County Board of Education, not the Signal Mountain High School.

October 9, 2011 at 6:36 a.m.
GrouchyJohn said...

I have wondered a couple of things since this mess started...

First, according to the letter the TSSAA sent Signal Mountain it was known some time back that this young man was ineligible to play but nothing was done about it at that time. WHY NOT? Why would the TSSAA wait until the season was almost over and then kick these kids in the teeth?

Second, I wondered who it was that raised enough of a stink to finally get the TSSAA moving on this.... and why?

The rumor mill has finally spit out the name of the person(s) that informed on Signal Mountain.... and it appears to be the coach at Sequatchie County.

Now, to me, if Sequatchie County had protested significantly at the start of the season and had gotten this taken care of back then, it would have been a situation of correcting a problem.

HOWEVER... the Sequatchie County coach found himself with a 3rd place team that would NOT be getting an invite to the playoffs and looks around to see what he can do to fix that problem. So he rats out Signal Mountain (who, btw, seriously kicked his team's arse) and now is the #2 school in rankings and will get a playoff spot invitation. A real weak sister team that will likely AGAIN loose in the first game of the playoffs.

Those of you claiming that this should be a learning experience for SMHS should consider what kind of learning experience it would be for the Sequatchie County kids to learn from their coach that you do whatever the hell it takes to advance yourself. That is EXACTLY what the man did. No 2 ways about it. Whatever it takes to win.

The same thing you are accusing Bill Price of doing.

October 9, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.
ldurham said...

Well if the Sequatchie County coach is only using players who are supposed to attend his school, at least he's not cheating.

October 9, 2011 at 9:22 a.m.
littlerod said...

Why would Sequatchie turn Signal in on this ? What would they have to gain ? The Indians would make the playoffs with a 7-3 overall record and still has to play Signal. Plus, even as bad as everyone feels about Signal, Sequatchie wouldnt want to see Bledsoe with another district title. Guess now its gotten to the point the finger at everyone else phase. How about point them at the people responsible, Coach Price and the administration.

October 9, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.
rgp410 said...

The timing of this is what points the finger at Sequatchie. On Sept 23 it was reported that at the TSSAA meeting that there was a possible issue at Signal but the issue wasn't investigated until after Signal could it make the playoffs. Who is a member of the TSSAA board ???????? Tommy Lane Principal at Sequatchie! Who benefits from this ruling? Guess! Not hard to figure out!

October 9, 2011 at 11:01 a.m.
littlerod said...

How does Sequatchie benefit ? Still have to play Signal, and were gonna make the playoffs anyway with a 7-3 record as a wild card. So Sequatchie did this so they wouldnt have to play Goodpasture and get to play CPA or Smith Co. in the 1st round ?

October 9, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.
rgp410 said...

No Maybe 7-3 could be 6-4! Counting out ND already with their 17 scholarship Tyner athletes that should be playing in the private school division. Another Day for that! That wildcard is not a sure thing.. O sorry, due to prior planning; now it is!

October 9, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
polinc said...

Footballfan2011 you don't know anything. This was not a No Child Left Behind case. Signal is paired with Howard High School for NCLB not Brainerd. This is blatant recruiting.

October 9, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
sra1952 said...

There is a copy of the letter to SMHS, from the TSSAA BOARD, AND IT STATED Our staff received several questions about the student-athlete’s eligibility from Principals and Athletic Directors during Administrators’ Meetings in the Hamilton County area. Each individual stated that the family was not living in the Signal Mountain High School zone and there had been no bona fide change of residence that justified a change of schools. After receiving so many questions, we were obligated to check into the situation in hopes of proving that the information submitted did justify a change of schools to Signal Mountain High School.m Check it out!

October 9, 2011 at 1:03 p.m.
polinc said...

sra1952 is correct and all the people making posts should read the article. It would be nice to see just one parent or supporter of Signal to admit they did wrong. Taking responsibility for their actions is not something they do. They would rather just make comments that other schools do the same thing. The student was zoned for Brainerd. They knew this and checked he was zoned for Howard on the eligibility form. This is about cheating as they knew Howard was paired with Signal for NCLB. This is no accident or mistake just blatant cheating involving all levels of personnel at Signal.

October 9, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.
mtngurl said...

As a teacher and coach in the HCDE for nearly 20 years, I know how eligibility forms are done. Every coach and administator knows a "hardship" granted by Central Office has "nothing" to do with eligibility. No coach or administrator assumes a student is eligible. This starts with Guidance Counselors that are in charge of records from sending schools, enrollment forms to fill out which require verification of address, electric bills, etc to show where the student actually lives, even in "hardship" cases. Then the coach must fill out an eligibility form for the student or entire roster that the coach and administrator/athletic director sign. NEVER is an eligibility report sent without the coaches signature. This incident involves multiple school personnel that all knew they were "recruiting" an athlete and "falsifying" forms. This is an ethical eligibility issue. The fact the student was granted a "hardship" by Central Office is irrelevant to eligibility decisions which are approved or denied by the TSSAA. To suggest the player and other players are innocent is hilarious. Signal Mtn. is a "white" community. Since the school is full of intelligent students, doesn't it stand to reason that these intelligent Signal football players were able to use their deductive reasoning skills to surmise that this transfer student had a skin color much darker than theirs and therefore lived in another community. For some people to think nobody knew is pure ostrich behavior. Falsifying legal school documents is grounds for immediate dismissal from HCDE. The counselors, coaches, and administrators involved in the enrollment process of this student and falsifying the football eligibility report before the season started are all guilty and should be dismissed from the school system.

October 9, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
victrix01 said...

This whole situation is lunacy. All of you dullard's who think this was recruiting are showing your true ignorance. It is sad that you all can not see past this mistake and realize that it is hurting a bunch of kids. You are all quick to throw stones but if it were your children being punished for something that was out of their control you would be irate as well. I am not saying that rules have not been broken here, but it was truly a mistake. To punish the children instead of just the ones who made the mistake is asinine.

As far as Sequatchie County... The timing on this couldn't be more perfect. Bringing this to light now ensures that the Signal Mountain football team will not be able to recover and be eligible for the playoffs. This is very convenient for TSSAA board member and Principal of Sequatchie County High School, Tommy Layne. With Signal Mountain being stripped of their wins Sequatchie County will automatically progress to the playoffs.

Sequatchie County should not be throwing stones at glass houses...

October 9, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.
polinc said...

Signal folks need to realize Layne has an ethical obligation to report any wrongdoing he knows of. It's the same as if you know of a crime being committed and withhold evidence, you are as guilty as the person committing the crime. Signal folks don't see things in terms of right and wrong, only what someone has to gain or lose from a situation. This is the crux of the whole situation. No a mistake was not made. Doing an eligibility report involve several people. This isn't a mistake.

October 9, 2011 at 3:12 p.m.
Bobo said...


If a bogus hardship waiver was never granted by HCDE, this would've never occured would it? You can't play football for a school you don't attend - can you? HCDE MUST accept their portion of the guilt as well, if for nothing more than neglecting to put any restraints on these hardship requests. My guess is that there are 50-60 students who are attending SMMHS currently on "hardship". (BIG quotes)

October 9, 2011 at 3:28 p.m.
victrix01 said...

Polinc, really... I can't believe you would use Layne and the word ethical in the same sentence. The man has no ethics... Furthermore, he sure did not report his own student Ethan Hickman who played for them in 2009 and lived in Hamilton County. If you don't think this happens at all schools you are very naive, please get a grip on reality. Nothing happens at Signal Mountain High School that doesn't happen all over the country. Also, anyone can accidentally click the wrong box when filling out an online form. If you truly don't think that it could be an accident then you need to shut down your computer and never log back on. Honestly, Bill Price may be a lot of things but he is not stupid enough to intentionally jeopardize the entire program.

October 9, 2011 at 3:59 p.m.
rlburns said...

Coach Price, his coaching staff and the SMHS football team have made me a fan of highschool football. Coach Price inspires his team to play exciting, chance taking, confidence building brand of football or what I choose to call, " Billie Ball".
I can not fathom Bill Price jeopardizing his career, the school or his the team's reputation by recruiting any ineligible players. I think TSSAA has caused a terrible injustice to occur on SMHS and Coach Price by their decision.

October 9, 2011 at 4:23 p.m.
bearhunter2 said...

got what they desereved. bad for the kids.

October 9, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.
ldurham said...

Just wondering: how could a kid who lives near Brainerd High have some sort of "hardship" that would make his parents request he attend a school so far away, across town, and up a mountain? What sort of "hardship" could that be? Fear of the valley?

October 9, 2011 at 6:47 p.m.
dl said...

rlburns -

Coach Price will be at a private school in a year or 2 anyway where he can make some real money. We all saw this coming. Not sure this will hurt his career at all as at the privates he can recruit.

October 9, 2011 at 8:53 p.m.
polinc said...

What happened to being allowed to express your opinion or in this case state some additional information about the corruptness of the football and baseball program without your comments being removed from this forum? It's obvious I am speaking the truth about the recruiting done by the new Signal baseball coach and his buddies in Red Bank following him up to the mountain. It's obviously him getting these comments deleted. Just wait until Signal starts baseball. You will be able to count several of his players that are zoned for Red Bank, yet will be playing at Signal. One of which he coached in Dixie Youth All Stars several years. The kid attended Boyd Buchanan the past two years, lives down the street from Red Bank Middle, yet is now attending Signal and will be a pitcher on the baseball team. This is not new to anyone in Red Bank as the coach freely speaks of his recruiting of his kid's buddies. Someone commented earlier about him doing this for several years and now that person's post has been deleted as well. Guess we have struck a guilty nerve. Delete away. Nobody up here on the mountain keeps quiet about anything. We've had enough of kid's off the mountain taking playing time from kid's that live up here. This was supposed to be a community school for the kid's in the Signal community. Get rid of these recruiting coaches and hire coaches that will win with only Signal kids.

October 9, 2011 at 10:10 p.m.
sandstorm66 said...

I agree with you Polinc!!!!!! A lot of those holier than thou folks hate having their bubble busted for all the world to see!!! Personally, if I'm wrong I'm wrong and I'll admit it and take my licks, shame some folks on the Mtn. can't!!! Have a nice week folks...

October 9, 2011 at 10:23 p.m.
polinc said...

So sanstorm66 some of your comments about this issue are being removed?

October 9, 2011 at 10:27 p.m.
allears said...

Polinc......sounds like someone needs to call and report baseball, heard this boyd kid did not have a bona fide change of residence either....should have to sit a year huh???

October 9, 2011 at 10:42 p.m.
polinc said...

The kid has a younger brother that had poor grades at Boyd, but is also attending Signal. He is also a really good baseball player. Signal is supposed to have high academic standards. If so why is a kid with failing grades allowed to drive right by the Red Bank school he is zoned for and come up the mountain and take away a spot on the team from a Signal kid? We know the answer. Recruiting. And both of these kids are minority just like the football player in question.

October 9, 2011 at 10:48 p.m.
crazyoldelady said...

Delete away, I printed out copies. This isn't Red Bank. People up here do talk. Have been talking for awhile.

Remember, Signal residents are paying extra taxes for this school. It is especially galling that students zoned elsewhere are being allowed, with the help of the Central Office, to take positions from those who are here honestly. I'm not talking NCLB kids. I'm talking kids who've come up here simply to play ball. You may call it Billie Ball. We call it Buddy Ball or Daddy Ball.

Watch the baseball coach.

October 9, 2011 at 11:19 p.m.

First of all, Signal Mtn has earned a nasty reputation, that has unfortunately tarnished the football team, and yes the school itself. All the incidents of fighting, parent issues on the sidelines, and other unsportsman mishaps have placed you in the "glass house" in which the school now resides. I've read too many comments from parents and students alike, on how Signal students receive this opportunity, or that merit, or how their school is better than other county schools. I have two daughters; one attends Notre Dame University, and the other is in her first year at Vanderbuilt, both on academic scholarship. No, neither of them went to Signal Mtn, so shut up with the brags!! Kids have the same opportunities in schools other than Signal, they just don't gloat about it. I'm affiliated with a local county school; as well, I'm also affiliated with the TSSAA. I personally voiced my opinion to strip Signal's wins for the first six games. What some don't understand is they can acutally go into next season as well. It's unfortunate because there are good kids at Signal who don't need this; however, if Signal keeps stirring the pot, just wait and see what happens!! Too many Signal folks like to blame everyone else for these problems,kinda like blaming pens and pencils for misspelled words.

October 10, 2011 at 12:03 a.m.
allears said...

Polnic, How did these kids from boyd who supposedly live in Red Bank get into Signal? This just keeps getting more interesting as time goes on.....I have a question, How many kids on last years football team were out of zone?

October 10, 2011 at 9:28 a.m.
think said...

Keep reading the comment (honest) mistake the only mistake was getting caught. Everyone on the mountain knew it was going on and is still going on.I would guess there were probably parents that wanted to come forward that knew it but were afraid to. Everyone talks on the mountain and knows everyone's business not always to be noisy but mainly due to the competitive nature they have (keeping up with the Jones) it is is filtered down to the kids. Also if you are on the A list, if you want a job at the school presto you have one, and as posted earlier positions and salaries have been taken from ones to give to others. Also jobs have been created for a few too. Bill Price got his wife a job as a secretary in the office, what an excellent place to have someone to help you keep tabs on what is going on. IMO that is some smooth-running team work. If I was a parent of one of the bona fide football players that live on the mountain that has contributed time and money and sacrifices I would be looking into where I stood legally. Ya'll have a good one now. LOVE YA MEAN IT!

October 10, 2011 at 10 a.m.
sportygirl04 said...

I wanted to share a post from my blog

I’m not naïve. I know that shady business goes on behind the scenes of almost every sports team on just about every level of play. I, however, try not to let these stories affect my view of the athletic program. Everybody does it….just some get caught and some don’t. I judge a team by what they can do on the field, and not what they can do with their money. This concept of cheating to get to the top hit home this past week….literally. It was reported TSSAA was investigating Signal Mountain for playing an ineligible player. Later it was explained that the player in question was Signal’s linebacker, Tim McClendon. Rumors began swirling on why McClendon was considered ineligible. Some said it was because he was attending Signal on a “hardship” case which allowed him to take part in academics but didn’t necessarily translate to athletics. Others said he was ineligible because he had played in a spring game at Fort Oglethorpe where he had attended school the previous year. Almost all stories include the idea that Signal was guilty of “recruiting” McClendon. It had been no secret to anybody that McClendon was a transfer student so why was this all being brought to light now?
I’ve made no secret that I am a fan of Signal but I am trying my best to be unbiased. I could sit here and defend Coach Price and the Signal staff saying that it is impossible that they recruited players. Doing so, would be irresponsible of me. As much as I want to know, I can’t tell you what exactly happened with and whether or not he was recruited. What I can tell you is if Signal is guilty of this practice they are not the only one and it isn’t just the coaching staff and administrators who are paying the price, it’s the student athletes who bear the brunt of the punishment. McClendon was a star athlete, illegally playing or not. He now doesn’t have the opportunity to finish out his senior year which I think he would gladly trade a championship season for. I don’t know if McClendon had any chance of playing college football but I’m sure the fact that he has been sidelined hurts his chances. Any interested colleges will have to watch him on tape instead of coming to see him in person. And what about his teammates? In my opinion, don’t punish the whole for the possible wrong-doing of a couple.

Regardless of if Signal is guilty or not guilty; I think there needs to be some serious re-examining of all high school programs. Behind the scenes shenanigans should not play a role in what happens on the field. Sure teams are going to try to “buy” championships by doing whatever it takes to put the best available players on the field but a line needs to be drawn. Parents should have the ability to give their children the best possible scenario for achieving their “dreams” (whether academically or athletically) without putting the chosen program in danger of not following policy.

October 10, 2011 at 11:39 a.m.
polinc said...

allears. The two brothers don't supposedly live in Red Bank. They live within a mile of the middle school right off Dayton Blvd. Both of the Signal baseball coaches son's are about the same age of the two brothers from Boyd and played together growing up at Red Bank Dixie Youth. The Signal coach has coached these kids off and on in Red Bank along with the other kids that live in Red Bank that appeared at the Signal school last year. These kids will take the spots of kids that live on Signal. The bottom line is when the baseball coach was run off from coaching and teaching at Red Bank some how his son's buddies that are zoned for Red Bank are now attending Signal High and Middle and I know for sure one of the dads was given a non faculty coaching job.

October 10, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.
sandstorm66 said...

Polinc they removed my post sunday night about scorched earth and the war of Northern Aggression. Guess it touched home for a few of the mtn. folks?

October 10, 2011 at 12:46 p.m.
polinc said...

Yes I see. Apparently several people that have made posts that are true statements of the corruption within the Signal Athletic Department have had their postings deleted. The thing about it is that the parents of players that are sitting the bench because non mountain recruits are playing instead know about all what is being posted. As someone in an earlier post stated people on the mountain talk and know exactly what all has gone on and is going on. When the Queen kid among others got caught drinking last year before the state finals in football the news was rampant on the mountain before it was ever reported in the papers. Everyone up here knows exactly what is going on. Someone up here needs to post exactly how many players on the football team are from off the mountain.

October 10, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.
sportygirl04 said...

Okay so players are being recruited off the mountain, so what…that should just make the kids on the mountain work harder to be on whatever team they are trying out for. If what people are saying is true that these are all “lilly white rich kids” then its good that they are being taught that not everything is handed to you. Sometimes you have to work hard for what you want because life isn’t always fair.

October 10, 2011 at 1:12 p.m.
smmom said...

I have been reading these comments for three days and am amazed of the interest in our little community school. We have only been a high school for 3 1/2 yrs. I cannot imagine how there can be so much animosity in such short of time. I would venture to say that this is the most attention that Mr. Hargis has gotten in a long time with his outstanding sports journalism...If my children were at another school I would be a little upset that the TFP favors our school so much that it gives us front page headlines..

That being said I would like to point out a few things about our school. We started with 3 grades, FR, Soph, Jr. We played a JV schedule our first yr. Our baseball team had a roster of 12. Two of them were 8th graders. Our stadium, bleachers, press box and lights were all built with donated money. We can't afford bathrooms yet, and have no field house. We are already overcrowded from the NCLB students that HCDE busses up here and the hardships THEY APPROVE..Now, can't imagine how all this stirs up such rivalry. I guess what has really ticked people off was the fact that we started winning..... We became successful very fast through determination and very hard work..... I am not from here. Only been in the state of TN for 3 yrs. We chose SM because of the school. I have had two boys play for Bill Price. They were/are not starters, not superstars. Never complained about someone being recruited and "taking their spot". I don't know who is talking about this or that. I don't care. I don't even care about those of you who claim to know so much about our athletic program...I do care about our team. I care about the 80 young men (including Tim) that have given 110% everyday. I care about our coaches. Especially Bill Price. I know from experience that he cares about ALL his players. I also know that like it or not, SM Football is for REAL. We are not going away. We will come back better, stronger and much wiser. We are not the powerhouse most of you claim, BUT we will be one day. Hopefully then Mr. Hargis will find room in his columns to give us the coverage that is befitting of truly outstanding programs....

BTW polinc...The "Queen kid" was not involved in the particular incident in which you refer. Another untruth that you declare to be fact.

October 10, 2011 at 2:01 p.m.
sportygirl04 said...

Well said smmom!

October 10, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.
think said...

I have been curious about something since the begin of 2011 football season, I have gone on the SM football official website and the 2011 roster is blank. I have given them the benefit of the doubt on this. I have looked up every school in the area and they all list their roster. HMM I think I have the answer now. If I am wrong please let me know the reason.

October 10, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.
allears said...

What schools are paired with Signal Mtn? Is Lookout Valley paired with Signal Mountain? Heard tale today that may have a player who lives or should I say resides in Lookout Valley? As far as baseball goes someone quoted on Coach T that baseball season was a while away......HHHHHMMMM sounds like to me people need to start scrambling to get their ducks in a row. Oh wait a minute, Baseball program is not very strong up there so maybe no one is interested. ;) "Your killin me smalls" Straight from the horses mouth!

October 10, 2011 at 6:04 p.m.
smmom said...

Again I am surprised at the interest of our roster. If you really want to find out who is on our team you can purchase a football program for $5.00 from any SM cheerleader. They are for sale at all home games, although I am sure you can get a copy in the office. It not only has our roster, but also very nice pictures of each individual player. I think that there is also a nice picture of our beautiful state champion trophy from last year. Don't have any idea why it is not on the website....

October 10, 2011 at 7 p.m.
sandstorm66 said...

smmom I like the scorched earth policy better!!!!!

October 10, 2011 at 9:36 p.m.
sandstorm66 said...

Maybe, the trophy will be the next thing taken away!!!!! Burn Baby Burn!!!!! Someone needs to encourage me please!!!!!

October 10, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.
smmhs_student said...

I go to Signal Mountain, I know how much everyone hates our school. There are people that go to Signal that are scared to go to the football games, or any sport event, because the other teams hate us and I have seen people at the games give death threats to other people. If you want to hate on Signal Mountain first go to the games and act like a fan for Signal, see what it's like. By the way, you can't cheat at every sport so Signal doesn't cheat at everything, we don't cheat at all.

October 10, 2011 at 9:50 p.m.
Baffled said...

Why has no one mentioned that Signal's Athletic Director, I think one bullish Patty Lane known for her win-at-all-costs modus operandi, hasn't been held accountable. Does the right hand not know what the left is doing?

October 10, 2011 at 10:43 p.m.
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