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The TSSAA Legislative Council held a virtual meeting Thursday to determine whether to waive the annual two-week dead period, which prohibits athletes and teams from working out with coaches or on school grounds.

The vote ended in a 6-6 deadlock, which by TSSAA bylaws means the motion to suspend the dead period failed. The dead period, which this year begins June 22 and ends July 5, was implemented to allow student-athletes a predetermined time each year to be able to take family vacations or simply take a break from training and practicing for their chosen sports.

The meeting was called at the request of numerous coaches around the state who believed the dead period should be lifted this year after several months of not being allowed to gather for practices or workouts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress addressed the council before the vote, and he said it was his recommendation to keep the dead period in place.

"Think seriously about if we're putting sports ahead of family," Childress said. "That's not what we want to stand for.

"The pandemic is making the decisions right now. We put in that two-week dead period to let kids be kids. We still need to allow them to be kids and have some consideration for the families."

Over the past two weeks, athletic teams across Tennessee have been given clearance to begin conditioning — weightlifting and running — to prepare for the coming seasons. Prep football teams in Hamilton County began those workouts June 1 and will continue until the start of the dead period.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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