The final point I'll add is just this. At another school in a different state, I faced a situation similar to this. I was the head coach and athletic director. The school secretary left the name of one of our players off the official eligibilty report sent to our version of TSSAA. It was on the list I had given to her. The player in question had gone to school at our school since ninth grade and was a senior that season. He met every criteria for eligibility, except his name had been left off the list that was sent in. When I happened to catch the mistake, we had already played three games, winning them all. We had to forfeit all games in which he played. His eligibility was restored when I personally delivered his name to the state association. The mistake was the secretary's to a minor degree, but the complete responsibility was mine. My job was to ensure that the list was accurate and complete. It would have been easy to try to place the blame on someone else, or to say how unfair it was to the other players on our team. In fact, it was unfair of me to feel sorry for myself. I let my players and school down, but I understood the reasoning behind the decision. Playing an ineligible player gave us an unfair competitive advantage over the teams we were playing.Maybe it would be helpful for everyone to think about the impact on the teams that played Signal. I haven't followed SMMHS' games closely this year but i'm fairly confident that the player in question probably had a significant impact on the outcome of some of those games.Ask yourself if that strikes anyone as fair. By the way, we ended up in the playoffs, and our school recieved the sportsmanship award for our district, not bad for a school that played an ineligible player.
I think I understand the passions that have evoked so many responses to this situation. Neither the supporters of Signal nor its detractors are likely to give in much to the views of the other. Some truths have been stated, and many unproven accusations/motives expressed. The only thing that really can be stated with certainty is that the TSSAA is interested only in applying the rules that each member voluntarily agreed to.They represent one of the few remaining groups that require the folks that operate under their auspices to be responsible for doing what they agreed to do.The TSSAA has not challenged HCDE's authority to determine where any student may attend school. However, they have reserved their right to determine any student's eligibility to participate in TSSAA sanctioned athletic events based on the bylaws each member school has agreed to. They have made that decision. If SMMHS can convince them that they have responsibly
followed the agreed upon bylaws, perhaps a different result will follow. The issue is not one necessarily of percieved fairness to one school, but rather whether or not all schools can count on the TSSAA consistently holding each school responsible for its conduct, not its intentions. Actions are clearly visible. Intentions depend on what people say they were or are.