published Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Signal Mountain High School’s appeal hearing is set

  • photo
    Middle linebacker of Signal Mountain High School Tim McClendon tracks the offense of Bradley High School during the 7-on-7 Passing Camp at Signal Mountain High School on Saturday, July 16, 2011.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Should Signal Mountain win its appeal?
  • Yes. 38%
  • No. 62%

1226 total votes.

The hearing on Signal Mountain High School’s appeal to the TSSAA has been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20.

Signal Mountain will appeal a TSSAA decision that ruled one of the Eagles’ football players ineligible and vacated six of the team’s wins.

The TSSAA was initially notified by what executive director Bernard Childress described as “several people at an administrators’ meeting” on Sept. 22. The TSSAA notified Signal Mountain on Oct. 6 and showed up on campus the same day to conduct its investigation and then made its ruling on Oct. 7.

TSSAA assistant executive director Matt Gillespie said earlier today that the association did not keep track of the number of investigations it conducted, “but I can tell you that probably 98 percent of our rules violations are self-reported by schools.”

Contact Ward Gossett at or 423-886-4765.

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about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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ChattanoogaVol said...

I'm interested to know if Chip Baker was involved in any of this. As a school board member and avid Signal Mountain High School football supporter (he had a son play on the football team last year and another one who plays this year), what did Chip know and when did he know it? Did Mr. Baker personally get involved with getting this hot shot athlete to Signal? Inquiring minds want to know....

October 13, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
ChattVegas said...

Hey ChattanoogaVol - are you a hair dresser that lives in Hixson/Soddy area? Your concerns about Chip Baker sure do sound familiar!!! Hey - how's your redneck brother doing? Hmmmmmm........inquiring minds want to know!

All this hate toward Signal Mountain. I do think they are guilty - guilty of being too successfull too fast - which brings out the hate, envy and jealousy by rival schools and communities. There is always a school or community that people have to hate on - and Signal Mountain is it.

I guess Signal Mountain is the new Baylor or McCallie or GPS. Except SMHS is public - and lord knows we can't have a PUBLIC overachieving school that rivals our best private schools in our community without getting peoples nose's out of joint.

This is really a weird town - used to be that all public schools and the private wannabes (Notre Dame, Boyd, Chatt Christian) hated BAYLOR. McCallie and GPS. The jealous talk from parents I know that sent their kids to these public and private wannabes was ..... at times over the top - sand entertaining.

GO SIGNAL MOUNTAIN - YOU MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT FOR THIS HATE! Evan the great private schools in our city are hating you!


Regarding the player involved, the school and the current situation. 1. The kid was granted a hardship by HCDE. 2. Signal Mountain turned in papers to TSSAA - listing the players address in Brainard - his correct address. 3. Jealous coaches - who could not stomach getting beat by a startup school that was an instant success - decided they would rather pull Signal down than work to build their programs up and be the best they can be. Lord knows we can"t have a local community giving incredible support to a public school. The support their own schools do not provide them - event he private wannabes (Notre Dame).

The real question is - WHO TURNED IN SIGNAL MOUNTAIN. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm........inquiring minds want to know? Was it an local public with a huge inferiority complex or was it one of the private wannabes that could not stand a new school giving them the beat down on a Friday night?

October 13, 2011 at 5:50 p.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

The repeated suggestions of "envy" and "jealousy" really come across as arrogance. Those Signal Mountain supporters who continue to claim that everyone hates the school and community because they are so superior are not helping your cause - and certainly don't make you any better than those who make blanket negative statements against Signal Mountain. TSSAA, which has no reason to be jealous of any school, found reason to investigate and made the final call.

The repeated focus on HCDE granting the hardship is a moot point. The issue is whether or not SM marked him as being in zone or attending on a waiver on the TSSAA eligibility form. If they marked the former, they violated the rules. Being granted a hardship does not render one a zoned player. The school is obligated to explain the reason for the hardship so TSSAA can approve or deny eligibility. A coaching and administrative team with as much experience as Signal Mountain's should be well aware of the rules and should be expected to follow them. If they did what they were supposed to do, then TSSAA owes the school, the community, the players, and specifically Tim McClendon and his family an apology. I doubt, however, that is the case. TSSAA doesn't strip a team of this many wins without good cause and I believe Signal Mountain made a very serious error - whether it was intentional or not.

I think the issue about who reported Signal Mountain is also unimportant. If there is no violation of the rules, then a school will not be penalized no matter who suggests impropriety. Harping on that and accusing other schools of wrongdoing looks like an attempt to shift the blame, which is a sad tactic. Focus on the real issue, instead of made up jealousy.

October 13, 2011 at 6:45 p.m.
fortheboys said...

StrongIf you have nothing to hide and if all was legal and legit then there would be NO investigation, but as we all know something was illegal and TSSAA took care of it. I just hope money does not continue to cover up the wrong and allow it to continue to happen inother schools. Let's show our kids and our future adults here that Stronghonesty is the best policy.

October 13, 2011 at 7:08 p.m.
James101 said...

First off Hamilton County Education cant grant Hardships they have to come from the TSSAA .... Signal Mtn wont win because of these FACTS and yes they are proven facts.. The TSSAA after the Fight with Baylor 2 Summers ago and the Brawl aganist Soddy has warned them about their behavoir of late and how there has been a few incidents of late.. Then the thing the TSSAA will be really mad about is Signal Mtn waited two weeks and two days to report this ( even though the TSSAA knew all along but they wanted to see how long Signal would wait ).. Also its intresting that Coach Price went to Signals Principal after the Soddy Brawl and told him point blank " If you suspend me then i Quit ".. And YES thats actually true and have been proved by adminstration if you wanna ask.. Now if that shows that the principal has no balls at all i dont know what does.. I also know first hand from friends that live on the family that they get bothered by solicitation from Signal Mtn parents wanting them to contribute to their school.. And when my friends or whoelse says No or i cant then they get bothered even more to the point where the principal has been called.. I mean honestly i have nothing aganist Signal School or the Parents at ALL but just some of the actions from parents and students of past year or two have really turned some ppl off.. I think there are some really good folks up there but at same time maybe its time to look in mirror and try to understand why the image of yall is so bad.. Its sad but i say Signal High School will be like a Red Bank High in about 5 years..

October 13, 2011 at 9:15 p.m.
James101 said...

And i dont know Chip Baker personally but ive seen him and his wife around and she is HOT!!! Theres alot of Signal Mtn MILFS !!

October 13, 2011 at 9:21 p.m.
ldurham said...

Final: Signal 76, CCS 35. At least the good sports didn't run up the score.

October 13, 2011 at 10:16 p.m.
my3boys said...

idurham: ur comments r sooooooo sarcastic. just another hot head that pretends to know something about what he is talking about, while sounding so immature and demeaning. get a life! you definately dont appear to have one, since u hav more comments than anyone else on this site concerning this matter

October 15, 2011 at 4:34 p.m.
my3boys said...

james101: concerning the altercations with signal mtn and soddy-baylor. signal gets the bad wrap not matter what. soddy has a rep of fighting (look @ soddy vs red bank every year), and baylor is no angel either. soddy started the fight this summer and last year as well, and as far as baylor, they do their fair share as well. a soddy coach hit a signal mtn player during scuffle this year and last year eric westmoreland @ baylor took a swing at one of sm players. but of course, you never hear anything about that or see it on u tube. just saying, most people have hated signal mtn from the start of the school, which didnt have anything to do with the soddy-baylor scuffles. explain that

October 15, 2011 at 4:44 p.m.
my3boys said...

almostamanda: the person who turned smhs in to tssaa is important, when it is a conflict of interest regarding another team in the same district, and if it effects the playoffs. smhs should be allowed to keep the 2 wins that occured after tssaa was made aware of a possible ineligible player on the team. it is not right for someone who is in the administration of another school in the same district (who is a tssaa member as well) to be able withhold information, when the school where u r an administrator, deems to benefit from it. especially if you hold this info conveniently long enough so the team in question of the violation can not possible recover from the tssaa penalty, due to it being so late in season. even if the tssaa does not overturn the whole decision, they should atleast have to be responsible for the neglegency of the members who did not notify the smhs program, and give them back some of the wins they have worked so hard for.

October 15, 2011 at 4:57 p.m.
James101 said...

Once again Signal Mtn does think they have NEVER done anything wrong... How about this one.. How about when Baylor played Signal in Bball last yr up on the Mtn and was beating them by 25 pts , the Signal Players started to undercut the Baylor Kids.. Or how about the Signal Players threw the first punch in the Soddy Scrimmage.. And i actually dont blame the players at all for the attitude up on the Mtn , its their Coaches and theres not a better example then good ole Coach Price.. You have somebody who is a bully , cusses and is just a hot head... And how about you ask Mr. Price or the Principle about this story , that after the Soddy Brawl when Soddy announced they were suspending their head coach one game , that Mr. Price went to Signals Staf and told them point blank " If you suspend me then i quit ".. Honestly , what does that say about him and the staff up there??.. I think thats a legit question to ask.. I understand at every school there are players and events that happen yearly but at same time i think most would say at least those other schools in general would take responsbility for one or two of those incidents.. Where at Signal everytime something has come up whether its football related or another sport or kids drinking or fighting in parking lots , its always NEVER Signals fault and thats what gets old to the rest of us hearing.. Im not jealous of Signals good programs they have up there and i always root for all chattanooga teams to do well on and off the field but its just the attitude mostly of the parents and community of Signal that has turned myself and others off.. At the end of the day Signal wont get this overturned because the TSSAA is tired of hearing about Signal ( always usually negative ) and the fact that Signal waited so long to bring up this issue when TSSAA knew about it for weeks before it was reported... Signal will not make playoffs and not get back their wins but probably will make TSSAA look into all schools and paperwork and trying to come up with better solutions for this and other confusion to not happen again..

October 15, 2011 at 7:35 p.m.
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