Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association
|Headquarters||3333 Lebanon Rd.
Hermitage, TN 37076
|Affiliations||National Federation of State High School Associations|
The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA), along with the affiliated Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association (TMSAA), is an organization which administers junior and senior high school sporting events in Tennessee. (In contrast with the TSSAA, which awards and recognizes state championships in various sports, the TMSAA only awards and recognizes sectional championships, not state championships.) The TSSAA is the only high school athletic organization in the United States to have a five-sport, Olympic-style spring sport championship tournament, known as Spring Fling, for baseball, softball, track and field, team and individual tennis, and soccer. Spring Fling began in Chattanooga in 1993, later moving to Memphis, and then establishing itself in Murfreesboro. The TSSAA was one of the first high school athletic organizations to host a central site for football championships, beginning in 1982.
The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association administers sporting events for an estimated 110,000 participants, 374 schools, 4,000 coaches, 3,000 officials, and 5,500 teams in the state of Tennessee. First organized in 1925, the TSSAA oversees athletic functions of both public and private schools. It includes schools throughout the state of Tennessee, as well as a single private school located in Mississippi.1
In 2001, the association was a party in the United States Supreme Court case Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. Brentwood Academy had sued the Association after the school was penalized for "undue influence" in recruiting football players, and the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. The court in this case held that a statewide association, incorporated to regulate interscholastic athletic competition among public and private schools, is regarded as engaging in state action when it enforces a rule against a member school.
The fall of 2009 was the first year for the TSSAA to divide into six playoff classifications for football.The new system allowed more teams into the playoffs. For example classes 3A-6A each have 32 teams in the playoffs with four quadrants in each. In each quadrant teams are seeded one to eight. The state championship game for football, the BlueCross Bowl, which is held on Wednesday to Friday the first week of December and includes Divisions 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, and 6A, as well as Div. II A and AA, has been held at Tennessee Tech University's Tucker Stadium in Cookeville since 2009.
Districts of Divisions 1-6A member schools
For purposes of administration, as well as organizing various athletic games and postseason tournaments, the TSSAA divides Tennessee's 95 counties, and the state's constituent Grand Divisions, into 16 athletic districts, which applies only to those schools in Divisions 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A, not Div. II A or AA:
- District 1: Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties
- District 2: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, and Union counties
- District 3: Bledsoe, Bradley, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, and Sequatchie counties
- District 4: Bedford, Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Rutherford, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, White, and Wilson counties
- District 5: Davidson, Macon, Montgomery, Robertson, Stewart, Sumner, and Trousdale counties
- District 6: Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Giles, Lawrence, Lewis, Maury, Perry, Wayne, and Williamson counties
- District 7: Benton, Carroll, Chester, Decatur, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Henderson, Henry, Madison, and McNairy counties
- District 8: Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, Obion, Tipton, and Weakley counties
- District 9: Shelby County
Cities and towns near Tennessee's borders with surrounding states, i.e. Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, or Virginia, such as Bristol, Chattanooga, Clarksville, and Memphis, do have various schools, both public and private, play different out-of-state teams, which are not TSSAA members, on a regular basis, e.g. Heritage High School in Ringgold, Georgia for Chattanooga teams or Virginia High School in Bristol, Virginia for Bristol, TN teams.
- ^1 The only exception is Fort Campbell High School on the Tennessee side of the eponymous U.S. Army base. The base straddles the Kentucky-Tennessee border, most of the base housing is in Kentucky, and the school is administered by the same Department of Defense district as the high school at Fort Knox in Kentucky. Fort Campbell High is therefore a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Northpoint Christian School, located a short distance across the Mississippi state line, is a TSSAA member under a rule provision permitting TSSAA membership for a school that relocates from Tennessee to another state if the majority of students at the school are Tennessee residents.
- Staff (May 20, 2012). "TSSAA Spring Fling brackets". WVLT (Knoxville, Tenn.). Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Staff (August 15, 2012). "Our view: Community came together to ensure TSSAA spring championships stay here". Lohud.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
- Hargis, Stephen (May 25, 2009). "Carter's departure ends era at TSSAA". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
- Hargis, Stephen (May 27, 2012). "Fling has settled in nicely in Murfreesboro". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Assn., 531 U.S. 288 (2001).