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TSSAA Legislative Council Board of Control 8th Grade Eligibility Request

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TO:                 TSSAA Legislative Council and Board of Controls

FROM:            Jay Lowery, Huntingdon High School

DATE:             September 21, 2015

SUBJECT:         8th Grade eligibility


This proposal is in regards to 8th graders being eligible to play at the High School level when they are housed in the same building.  Numerous 1A (Single A) schools throughout the state are located in one small town with a middle school at a different location, but in the same town.  Their student population may be the same as those that are in the same building, however, they are not eligible under the current stipulations for eligibility.

This is giving some students 5 years of valuable experience at the high school level.  As we all know experience is a very valuable component for athletes.  Some sports are affected differently as to when their middle school season is over only allowing a portion (4 1/2 years) of the high school season.  However, Spring sports does give athletes a full five years of eligibility.

We are seeing parents, players, friends, etc. encouraging (recruiting) players to enroll in their school, which is all under one building, in order to have more eligibility.  We are also seeing middle school girls attending summer camps with the high school team at a high school only camp. 

Our proposal is to allow schools located in one town with only one middle school within one school district to be eligible to move up to the high school sports once their middle school (8th grade) season is complete.

Therefore these are the items for consideration within this proposal.

  • Students enrolled in a school district with one middle school and one high school be allowed to play high school sports once their middle school season is over. 
  • By setting the ruling with a student population for a certain number or less be allowed to play high school sports once their middle school season is over.
  • Eliminate 8th graders the ability to move up at all.

I would be happy to discuss this further with you and express the ramifications this would have for Tennessee athletes should this proposal be considered.  

The following signatures are supporting this proposal.


If you are a high school coach and you support this proposal please contact Coach Jay Lowery at [email protected] and let him know!

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