published Friday, October 7th, 2011

TSSAA strips Signal Mountain of its six wins

  • photo
    In this file photo, Signal Mountain High School students excitedly wait for the start of Signal Mountain's season opening home football game on Friday. The Eagles were the 2010 State Champions for their division.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Do you agree with the TSSAA decision?

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association has notified Signal Mountain High School that its football program is guilty of playing an ineligible player and must vacate all six wins this season.

According to executive director Bernard Childress, two TSSAA assistant directors spent several hours at Signal Mountain High conducting interviews on Thursday. The TSSAA staff met early Friday morning and Childress faxed the official letter of notice Friday afternoon, Childress said.

The ineligible player is 6-foot-2, 240-pound running back/linebacker Tim McClendon, who transferred form Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe during the summer and started for Signal Mountain in all seven games this season.

He will not be allowed to play in any further football games for the Eagles, beginning with tonight’s game at Polk County.

Signal Mountain is expected to appeal the ruling.

For more on this story read Saturday’s Times Free Press.

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about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...

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sbm362 said...


October 7, 2011 at 4:30 p.m.
ScoopAway said...

We bust ours, to kick yours.... lol. Well you may have kicked theirs, but they busted yalls!!!

October 7, 2011 at 5:09 p.m.
wingsgoalie33 said...

The good news here is that the young man is still eligible to attend school at Signal, so no violation there of "No Child Left Behind" or anything like that. And given he is such a good athlete he will no doubt get a scholarship to some college.

As a former high coach, I know that the details of the TSSAA can be tricky. Parents, coaches and administration need to be as diligent as possible to ensure that these things don't happen. If the TSSAA granted him eligibility to play, it is still the job of the consumer, in this case the young man and Signal Mountain, to understand all of the details of the transfer/eligibility rules.

Brentwood spent 10 years fighting the TSSAA over one case. They lost. I don't expect SMMHS to win this one either.

October 7, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.

When will be ethics be put on a pedestal like sports in our schools?

October 7, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.
sandstorm66 said...

That's happens when you blend private school mentality with public school dollars!!!! Practice what you preach SMMHS Wild Bill you got caught!!!! Wheeeeeeee!!!!!!

October 7, 2011 at 5:44 p.m.
adolphochs said...

This absolutely incredible and unbelievable! Everyone knows that public schools don't recruit, do they?

October 7, 2011 at 6:17 p.m.
Bobo said...

Guess what brainiacs- Most of these kids who aren't here on NCLB approval are getting into SMMHS on what is called "hardships approvals" that are controlled completely by the HCDE central office - SMMHS has NO CONTROL. According to the HCDE website, they approve them based on only "very rare cirumstances - NOT SO - ANYONE IS APPROVED!! Just ask our HCDE employee Mr. Lee McDade!

October 7, 2011 at 6:31 p.m.
Bobo said...

Oh and by the way, Times Free Press, you want a real story? - Look into the hardship approvals at HCDE.

October 7, 2011 at 6:33 p.m.
moosepudding said...

I go to Signal Mountain High School. I don't know Bill Price, I don't know much about the way he works, and frankly I don't care. But if there's one thing I DO know, it's that he does not care about stupid crap like this. Be it that I don't know Coach Price, I DO, however, know the football players, and Tim. And I know that you can say whatever you want about them being unsportsmanlike, but these are some of the finest young men I've ever had the pleasure of being around. And all this decision is doing is punishing the students and players, not the faculty and CERTAINLY not Coach Price. I love my school, and don't care what anyone thinks about it. And I'm certainly not here to talk any crap about other schools, but I see some of you saying how there is "dark, seedy stuff like gasp drinking!!" And I'd just like to point out that there is not a single high school in America where there are students that don't drink or do bad things. Signal Mountain is no exception. Dr. McCoullagh (please excuse me if I spelled his name wrong) is a wonderful man with good morals, and represents the spirit of our school. I think it is unsensible to make stupid generalizations about our school based on Tim McClendon not being an "official" citizen of Signal or whatever... I think SOMEONE's just out to get Signal Mountain.

October 7, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
mtnrasslin said...

The Signal Mountain game is usually the third score I look for on Saturday morning. As a general rule, I hope to find that they lost. However, even from that perspective, it makes me sick to see what the TSSAA does to kids in the name of helping them. It seems that we adults, in this case with the TSSAA being our agent, seem to believe that we should help these kids by managing the outcomes of athletic programs to get the results that we want. We set up silly little rules that have nothing to do with what is best for the kids. Why would anyone care that a kid, even if he is a good athlete, transfers from LFO to Howard to Signal Mountain? For reasons that are really none of our business, the kid and his family have obviously decided that Signal is the right place for him. Apparently the TSSAA has decided that they are wrong. As a result, they have created a lie; Signal is 0-1. Of course we all know that with the exception of Blackman, where they got smoked, Signal has won every game, most of them handily. We all know they are 6-1 and so do their kids and the kids they played.

The Signal Mountain players, especially the seniors, have just had something they love, something for which they have worked very hard, both individually and as a team, ripped away from them for reasons that have nothing to do with them.

Let’s hear it for the TSSAA and their silly rules. After all, it is for the kids.

October 7, 2011 at 7:50 p.m.
zcbh6 said...

The one thing that I do not like about this story is that it does not explain why the player was ineligible. This sounds like half of a story. Can you please update when you have the information on why the player was ineligible?

October 7, 2011 at 7:54 p.m.
Bobo said...

The hardship application process starts with the FAMILY wishing to transfer - NOT the school administration. I know this process as well. Many of the hardships being approved are totally bogus - and noone is happy about thi except the families who are AVOIDING moving and paying Signal Mountain taxes and are attending a great school they are NOT zoned for.

October 7, 2011 at 8:19 p.m.
allears said...

I totally agree with most comments above about the kids being punished because of coaches mistakes. It was only a matter of time, stupidity will eventually rear its ugly head. Hardships are a joke.......Why would anyone apply for a hardship to drive up to SMMHS from anywhere in the valley? Sounds like someone needs to notify TSSAA about the baseball program as well. Heard some comments today thruogh a real estate broker about a student being heavily recruited to play football next year there. Supposedly a Signal parent has real estate properties that are easily rented to provide a temporary address. This person was told that proof of residencey could be taken care of through this......

October 7, 2011 at 8:22 p.m.
provda said...

The HCDE approves hardships. It's neither the coach's nor the administrations' responsiblity to verify the zoning of every student that is granted a hardship when HCDE is the one placing them at that school. Obviously, this is HCDE fault, and yet, they are still the ones who reported Signal Mtn for their own actions.

October 7, 2011 at 8:55 p.m.
freepressreader said...

This story is about one thing - greed. Signal has a ton of great athletes and would have had a great season without this player. But the coaches and the Sports Boosters got greedy, and the players, including the ineligible one, are all paying the price (no pun intended).

October 7, 2011 at 9:07 p.m.
tnfootballmom said...

You can't trust any of the TSSAA decisions. First they ok his eligibility, then they investigate it. I believe that the TSSAA itself should be audited.

October 7, 2011 at 9:22 p.m.
Onlooker said...

Signals principal was on Sport Talk and he said that it was the HCDE that ok'd his eligibility and they just figured it would be ok with the TSSAA. The TSSAA never ok'd his eligibility. The HCDE can only ok the student to attend school and has no say in his athletic eligibility.

October 7, 2011 at 9:38 p.m.
CrazE4cars said...

As a Signal resident I have only missed one game this season. The players have worked very hard (won the 2A State Championship) and if given the chance would probably win the 4A title. A player moves from Georgia (red flags go up) but then gets appoved to play. Who then is responsible for checking to see where this family lives? As I understand it this is what is in question the families residency in the Brainerd school district. A major fumble!

October 7, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.
freepressreader said...

The principal and the athletic director should have known the rules. They've both been involved in the school system for decades. This is a major screwup on their part! It's a shame for all of the kids. The AD definitely dropped the ball on this one.

October 7, 2011 at 9:50 p.m.
tnfootballmom said...

Please...please TFP, give us a direct quote from Mr.Childress on why this player is ineligible instead of just tidbits to get the hungry salivating.

October 7, 2011 at 9:51 p.m.
CrazE4cars said...

For those interested the letter from the TSSAA is posted on Signal lost to Polk Co tonight. I'm still an Eagle fan but this season is basiclly over now.

October 7, 2011 at 10:12 p.m.
Livn4life said...

It seems obvious from a previous article the young man's family moved into an area not zoned for Signal Mountain High School according to the TSSAA who apparently did not initially agree to his eligibility. It seems simple that anyone not living on the mountain and transferring should be investigated and the TSSAA conferred with on eligibility before the athlete competes. That does not seem to have been the case here. Rules, like them or not, are to be kept. Since I have heard numerous stories of alleged recruiting to Signal Mountain, I am not surprised. Yes, the players are punished because irresponsible adults who should be on top of such things just didn't check it out. Move on, everyone.

October 7, 2011 at 10:18 p.m.
freepressreader said...

"Hardly a factor" - puhlease! The AD should have known how to fill out paperwork correctly. Especially when it considers a 240 pounder who plays both ways on the field.

October 7, 2011 at 10:21 p.m.
cartman said...

EVERYONE involved in high school sports is aware of the TSSAA rules for eligibility. EVERYONE should have to abide by them. Lets not play stupid when we get caught breaking them. That being said, the TSSAA should take their rule book and shove it!

October 7, 2011 at 10:23 p.m.
LSUTiger said...

At least there was one team on the field in Benton tonight with some class. You should see that cocky bunch. No wonder they are in trouble.

October 7, 2011 at 10:29 p.m.
ScoopAway said...

@payingattention.... Day after day you post some of the most ridiculous stuff I've ever seen on here... Morons. Really?

October 7, 2011 at 10:48 p.m.
Trololololol said...

According to my Tssaa experience, an ineligible play may be eligible if he has 6 toes and can't spell tomato.

October 7, 2011 at 11:12 p.m.
Trololololol said...

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October 7, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.
freepressreader said...

I'm not slamming the players. I feel sorry for them. I'm slamming the administration.

October 7, 2011 at 11:25 p.m.
toot_toot said...

Wow, I am totally shocked they didn't slide on it. I really did not think they would get punished. I am sure every school has situations were they get kids out of district. I think the big deal here is that it was very BOLDLY done. Many kids have been approached since SM come into existance. I think they had the "SM is untouchable" thing going on like they are mafia or something.

It is very sad for the kids, I agree. But, some of the things posted in the previous article lead me to believe the untouchable attitude has carried down to several of the kids, as well. After all, I am sure the students look to the coaches to lead.

I can't help be thinking you reap what you sow.

October 7, 2011 at 11:43 p.m.
ujellybro said...

if you really think about it, and it were opposite day, all the wins they took away should be put back, and the loss should also become a win. and the ineligible player is now eligible.


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October 7, 2011 at 11:52 p.m.
fortheboys said...

Don't forget; Champions DO NOT get caught after the championship game with underage drinking.. Where was the admin. then? serving the youngstgers? Come on, let our kids be kids and enjoy sports in school and learn that rules are rules to be followed and if you screw up and get caught you have to pay the price. What examples will we be setting if nothing is done??? As a parent ask yourself that question..... I would rather my children to know to do the right thing and make wise decisions in life.
Not only that but I am sure there are plenty of kids who live on signal mtn and sit on the sidelines eah week that would love to play for their folks instead of those the coach has recruited.

October 8, 2011 at 12:01 a.m.
smmom said...

Please LSUtiger give me your definition of class. I was at that game and i witnessed two very good football teams. Some very questionable officiating and fans on both sides expressing support for their team. Polk was very well coached and prepared. We were outplayed...btw I myself bleed purple and gold...

October 8, 2011 at 12:01 a.m.
freepressreader said...

Tim McClendon scored 5 touchdowns against South Pitt.

October 8, 2011 at 12:05 a.m.
James101 said...

Theres all kinds of bad things happening up at Signal Mtn in the last year ; you have ineligible players , you have fans fighting with each other , players geting caught drinking , a fight in a parking lot involving Mr. Bakers kid and a judges kid and etc etc.. I really have nothing aganist Signal Mtn or its residents but in all honesty just being out and about at public places and hearing ppl that live up on the mountain and the way they talk and act i think rubs people the wrong way.. Not all mountain residents are like this but some can be very cocky or snobby as ive seen it with my own eyes.. As for the ruling , it could have just been a mis understanding and no harm meant on Signal Mtn school prt but the rules are the rules and they should upheld no matter who the school is or if its public or private..

October 8, 2011 at 12:10 a.m.
lawstudent43 said...

Any adult that would attack the heart and spirit of an entire school full of kids, mock them, gloat at their misfortune, accuse them all, and take away the profits of all their hard work, is nothing but a child abuser - a child abuser of other peoples' children. But Jesus said, "He who gloats at the misfortune of another will himself be punished." God has a day for all you adults snearing at these minors who have done you no wrong.

October 8, 2011 at 12:16 a.m.
freepressreader said...

The coaches and administrators took away the profits of their hard work. They are the child abusers.

October 8, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.
lawstudent43 said...

The coaches and administrators aren't on a public site slandering and verbally abusing those kids. And whatever their faults, they go to work every day trying to support and help that school. You're an idiot to make that association all because of this minor infraction over silly football. You people are opportunists, always wanting a way to slam others. Frankly, what happens at Signal Mt. High, for most of you on here slandering them, is none of your dadgum business. Go slander your own school's children, if that's all you're made of, you child abusers. Devils.

October 8, 2011 at 12:41 a.m.
freepressreader said...

I guarantee you that the coaches at Signal do not consider football to be "silly". Otherwise they wouldn't stretch a pretty clearly stated TSSAA rule to add to their stable of running backs. Also, if I had a Signal Mountain kid on the football team right now, I would be pretty mad at them for ruining my son's season.

October 8, 2011 at 12:48 a.m.
James101 said...

Theres the mountain people always wanting to blame others when something bad happens or they get caught. Its never their kids fault when they get into fights , ge caught drinking or make bad grades at school or whatever else.. It always has to be the other persons fault or someone or somebody is after them or their child.. Maybe its just time to man up when either the parents or school or the children mess up.. And the best part is they say , Well people are just out to get us because we win or a good program.. How about schools like Boyd Buchanan , Baylor , Red Bank and others that are or have good season year in and year out and nobody accuses them of cheating and etc.. In all honesty , like i said its the attitude of the mountain people thinking they are better then everybody else that rubs people the wrong way.. You see it all around town , you can be out eating/drinking or shopping and you know exactly who lives on the mountain or not without even knowng them personally just by their actions and words.. I wish chattanooga teams would bring home the state title every year , so i have nothing aganist those kids or program. I just think maybe sometimes the Mountain gets a perception about it and maybe thats where they should try cleaning up the image.. Signal Mtn school will be fine and still be good for many years down the road though , just try not too break any rules to be that way though.. lol

October 8, 2011 at 1:06 a.m.
ScoopAway said...

Again let me state the obvious... They just got caught cheating and your saying that its the highest performing school? Don't get me wrong punishing the kids for it is not the right thing to do. But when you win as a team you also have to lose as a team. And please don't think for a second that nobody on that team didn't know what was going on cause I guarantee that over half of the parents completely lost it when little Billy's position was taken by some kid that just "transferred" from somewhere else.

October 8, 2011 at 2:23 a.m.
toot_toot said...

LawStudent, I am curious to where you are seeing slander of children by the folks posting? I just don't see it. If the kids get in a fight or get caught drinking, they are just stating a fact. I am confused by your comments!

October 8, 2011 at 9:35 a.m.
moosepudding said...

@lawstudent43 Hear, hear!

October 8, 2011 at 9:45 a.m.
signalmtn said...

How old are we now? I'm sure most of you are fully grown adults. Why don't you stop criticizing our school and start doing something with your life. Sitting on the computer bashing Signal isn't going to get you anywhere in life, so why don't you stop and improve your school and it might be as good as ours one day.

October 8, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.
James101 said...

Wheres all the Signal Mtn MILFS at??...

October 8, 2011 at 8:34 p.m.

First of all, Signal Mtn has earned a nasty reputation, that has unfortunately tarnished the football team, and yes the school itself. All the incidents of fighting, parent issues on the sidelines, and other unsportsman mishaps have placed you in the "glass house" in which the school now resides. I've read too many comments from parents and students alike, on how Signal students receive this opportunity, or that merit, or how their school is better than other county schools. I have two daughters; one attends Notre Dame University, and the other is in her first year at Vanderbuilt, both on academic scholarship. No, neither of them went to Signal Mtn, so shut up with the brags!! Kids have the same opportunities in schools other than Signal, they just don't gloat about it. I'm affiliated with a local county school; as well, I'm also affiliated with the TSSAA. I personally voiced my opinion to strip Signal's wins for the first six games. What some don't understand is they can acutally go into next season as well. It's unfortunate because there are good kids at Signal who don't need this; however, if Signal keeps stirring the pot, just wait and see what happens!! Too many Signal folks like to blame everyone else for these problems,kinda like blaming pens and pencils for misspelled words.

October 9, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.
signalmtnman101 said...

ok all you fucing bits you dont know anything about Signal Mountain. All you are is nigers that dont belong up here. You a just jeolous of how awesome we are. The best thing for you to do is just stay in your hood with all the shootings and drugs (which you are on) and stay off the best place in chattanooga. Idiots like yall is just a waist of oxygen. Signal mtn. has a 68% pop. of colledge grads.....I bet most of you who put stupid comments on here droped out in high school and still lives at home with your mother. Grow up and get away from the computer and get a life pieaces of trash

October 10, 2011 at 11:57 p.m.

Your seriously going to leave that post like that? Dude, have you ever heard of spell check??? I need to copy that and send it the People of Walmart or People of Signal Mtn on the internet.."Waist of oxygen", "Jeolous of how awesome we are." ROFLAO...

October 11, 2011 at 3:57 p.m.
Wildman67 said...

This couldn't happen to a better principal as Tom McCollough. Those of us who spent time at Hixson during the 80's will remember him well. It comes to no surprise that this happened and I am glad that it did to can the mouths up on how better Signla Mtn is than the rest of us.

October 12, 2011 at 11:37 a.m.
Footballfan2011 said...

Well the analogy about throwing rocks in glass houses will come back to bite a principle and head coach. If I were the two that everyone is saying that started all this stuff. I would be a little worried right now. The word is out about looking into the communications between the two and the board members of TSSAA which should include phone call, emails, letters, any and all types of communication. This could involve a number of other Schools as well.Especially since the Principle is a TSSAA Board Member. Now with that being said, the victims in this is the young men who work so hard since their freshman year to be were they were at. The students who take so much pride in their school. The Parents who stay involved in the School and Sports to support their young people. The people who have volunteered countless hours, days, and weeks to help in anyway they can. If this turns out to be a under handed scheme for personal gain. I really hope that they can live with affecting memories of the young men and women that go to that school that will last a life time. The truth will come out soon. I just hope the season can be saved for those young men before it's to late.

October 13, 2011 at 5:12 a.m.
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