Members of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association must apply the provisions of the Tennessee Open Meetings Act to regional meetings of member schools and committee meetings, according to a report Tennessee Comptrollers released this week.
According to its website, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association administers the junior and senior high school athletic program for an estimated 110,000 participants, 426 schools, an estimated 6,000 coaches, 5,000 officials, and almost 5,500 teams.
The organization has a state office in Nashville, the website went on to say.
But TSSAA officials said in a written response to the report that their organization is not subject to the Open Meetings Act.
In their report, Comptrollers said the TSSAA provided adequate public notice of the regional meetings of member schools, including the dates and locations of the meetings.
“However, TSSAA staff provided no prior notice of the Finance Committee and Sports Medicine Advisory Committee meetings on its online or print calendar. TSSAA staff provided prior notice of TMSAA Committee meetings but did not include the location of the meeting,” Comptrollers wrote.
TSSAA did not publish minutes of its regional meetings of member schools that occurred in November of last year. They also did not record minutes of the Finance Committee, Comptrollers wrote.
“TSSAA staff recorded minutes of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee with information required by open meetings laws; however, the TMSAA Committee minutes did not include a record of persons present,” according to the report.
“TSSAA staff did not post the minutes of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee or the TMSAA Committee, but such minutes were available upon request. Based on our review of meeting minutes, the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the TMSAA Committee did not indicate when votes occurred or the results of such votes.”
To increase transparency in its oversight of interscholastic athletics, Comptrollers said TSSAA staff should provide adequate public notice of its subcommittee meetings, including dates, times, and locations, so that interested members of the public may attend.
Comptrollers said the TSSAA should also maintain minutes of the regional member meetings and of any subcommittee meetings.
TSSAA management, though, responded with this:
“Although held by the courts to be a ‘state actor’ for constitutional purposes, TSSAA remains a private corporation, not a state agency,” TSSAA management wrote.
“In addition, TSSAA is not among the types of not-for-profit corporations whose boards of directors meet the definition of “governing body” in Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-44-102.”
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