published Friday, October 14th, 2011

Tim McClendon’s journey to Signal Mountain High School

Signal Mountain players surround Tim McClendon, center, as seniors are recognized before the game against Chattanooga Christian Thursday at Signal Mountain High School. The TSSAA ruled McClendon ineligible to play, and players surrounded him on the field to show their support for him.
Signal Mountain players surround Tim McClendon, center, as seniors are recognized before the game against Chattanooga Christian Thursday at Signal Mountain High School. The TSSAA ruled McClendon ineligible to play, and players surrounded him on the field to show their support for him.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
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The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association will hear Signal Mountain High School’s appeal of the ruling that caused SMHS to vacate six wins for using an ineligible player. The hearing will be Thursday in Murfreesboro with a decision expected that day.

Is the sky still the limit for Tim McClendon, the bruising high school football player who scored 15 touchdowns on 51 carries in just seven games?

The Signal Mountain High School senior hopes so, but after being ruled ineligible Oct. 7 by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association — a decision that cost the school six wins — it’s impossible to know.

What is certain, though, is McClendon’s view of transferring to Signal.

“Signal Mountain [High School] is one of the best things that ever happened to me,” he said Thursday afternoon, just hours before he was introduced with the rest of his classmates on senior night before the final regular-season home football game. “For the first time, I look forward to getting ready and going to school and seeing what my family at school is doing.”

McClendon has attended five high schools in four years, going to Hixson, Brainerd, Howard and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe before coming to Signal Mountain for his senior year. He said it has been a difficult path — he said he was attacked at two of the schools and was threatened with a knife at least twice — that was often filled with the pressures of fitting in and the dangers of falling in with the wrong crowd.

He said he transferred and applied for a hardship waiver among the Hamilton County schools early in his high school career.

“There were people I was hanging out with that I didn’t need to be around,” he said. “They knew they weren’t going anywhere and wanted to drag others down with them.”

His move to LFO originally was denied because he was not a Catoosa County, Ga., resident, so McClendon moved and stayed with Reggie Page, who McClendon said was his guardian at the time.

It was at LFO — where McClendon topped the 100-yard mark in the first half of the season opener in 2010 before suffering a season-ending injury in the third quarter of that game — that McClendon reunited with Shane Roberson, a friend and mentor.

“I met Shane when I was in the eighth grade at Orchard Knob,” McClendon said. “Some lady was showing him around. I asked him if he was coming there and he said that he probably was to teach math.”

They renewed their friendship at LFO, where Roberson was a counselor for special-needs students.

“I look at him like the dad I never had,” McClendon said. “He taught me a lot of things — how to talk to people, how to dress, how to carry myself. With or without football, he’s a big part of my life.”

After becoming a teacher at Signal Mountain, Roberson said he was contacted by McClendon and his mother about transferring, especially when questions about graduation arose.

“He and his mom both began texting me asking for my help because they wanted to get him in school at Signal because of the educational environment and [the fact] that I would be there to make sure he got done what he needed to academically,” Roberson said. “I went to the Hamilton County [school board] offices and spoke to them about him, gave them his history and the reasons he wanted to transfer.”

McClendon’s hardship application was approved by the Hamilton County Board of Education in June, according to Signal Mountain and HCBE officials. That is a separate issue from athletic eligibility, however.

After several complaints from other schools, according to executive director Bernard Childress, the TSSAA investigated McClendon’s transfer to Signal and ruled him ineligible because of a paperwork error pertaining to where he lives.

“Whoever at Signal Mountain filled out the online transfer form made a mistake,” Childress said. “All of our eligibility forms are submitted by the administration of our schools. In this case whoever filled it out clicked ‘yes’ that the student-athlete’s new residence is inside Signal Mountain’s zone. It’s not. Once we checked to see exactly where his house is, we realized he’s in Brainerd’s zone, not Signal Mountain’s.”

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

1226 total votes.

Signal Mountain has appealed the TSSAA ruling, and the case will be heard Thursday in Murfreesboro.

“Although we have the greatest respect for the TSSAA, after careful consideration of the issues involving the use of an ineligible football player, we are exercising our rights and have asked the TSSAA for an immediate hearing,” Signal Mountain Principal Tom McCullough said. “We stand by the information we submitted regarding the student transfer and believe him to be eligible.”

All of the Eagles football program is hoping for the best, especially McClendon, who said the original shock of the news was devastating.

“I cried the day I found out. I’ve cried a lot of days since,” he said. “It was because I was ineligible, but it was also because I had cost my teammates six games. Coach [Bill] Price told me it wasn’t my fault and that it was a misunderstanding in paperwork. I told him I was sorry. He hugged me and told me to hold my head up high.

“But that first day I heard I felt life was done. I really felt like I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but then I thought about coming here to get the academics. Being on the football field was great, but football was a secondary issue.”

So even if the appeal is denied and his high school football days are done, is the sky still the limit for McClendon, the student? He believes so. He said he plans to finish the school year at Signal and graduate.

“I want my diploma,” McClendon said. “I didn’t want to be lost out of high school [so I went to Signal because] I wanted to go somewhere I could get the best education I could get.

“They help me here in math and reading. I have low reading skills. I don’t pick things up the first time. If I’m reading, I have to read it over and over. My English teacher [at Signal Mountain] has worked so hard. In the classroom she makes me read out loud, but the students don’t make fun of me.”

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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fairmon said...

Good informative article that looks at "the rest of the story" as one famous journalist (Paul Harvey) used to say.

October 14, 2011 at 3:40 a.m.
joepulitzer said...


October 14, 2011 at 5:50 a.m.
ldurham said...

Nice piece of fluff and fiction. The writer obviously has an agenda: helping his Signal Mtn coaching buddies keep their jobs.

How about a reality check: what a sweet coincidence that the well-traveled Shane Roberson magically ends up at Signal for Tim McClendon's senior year. Roberson's recent journey takes him from Orchard Knob, to Sequatchie County, to LFO in Catoosa County, and now to Signal: and somehow a superstar player or two follows him everywhere he goes.

So Roberson just goes to central office, and asks for a hardship transfer for McClendon. Hardship requests are routinely turned down every day. But this one is quickly granted. That's all there is to it? Board member Chip Baker had nothing to do with it? So ANY kid who's been in a fight, or doesn't want to be with "the wrong crowd" at an inner-city school, can get a free ride to the self-proclaimed best school in the county? Really? That's great. Why hasn't Hamilton County publicized this fact? Wouldn't this solve Chattanooga's gang problem?

And as for McClendon's long list of high schools, a dubious achievement for anyone who's lived at the same address for four years, that is very telling. A lot of great kids graduate each year from Hixson, Brainerd, Howard and LFO (where he actually came and went twice). This fabricated public-relations piece is an insult to all of those schools.

Finally was McClendon "recruited" at Signal Mountain? Did he, as this story says, just learn that his coaching pal Shane magically got hired at the best school in the county, and then texted him, asking for help "for academic reasons?" (implying that LFO, an award-winning school has poor academics?...the same LFO that was 0-10 in football last year?)

Is this the first time special arrangements have been made for an athlete who lives far from Signal to play, or of course "further his academics" at Signal? The TSSAA knows the answer to that one.

Signal Mountain administrators say "everyone else is doing it too." Maybe so. Just not as blatantly and sloppy as Signal does.

It's great that McClendon is getting individual care and tutoring at Signal. He certainly can benefit from it. But until Signal publicly and openly invites and accepts all troubled inner city students, not just great athletes who can help them run up the score, their smug claims of innocence are laughable.

October 14, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
Bobo said...


It must be so convenient to make up facts to support your bitter theory. " There are hardships turned down everyday" reallly? I challenge you to find a hardship waiver that has been denied at SMMHS. It is public record - so make a request to support your "facts". There are approx. 400 hardship waivers that involve student athletes in Hamilton County alone. We are not giving the "everybody is doing it defense". We are simply asking for a consistently applied ruling from the TSSAA. So Mr. Durham - I encourage you to use real facts and research to support your opnion instead of conjecture.

October 14, 2011 at 7:06 a.m.
obviously said...

Everyday a new article? It's definitely and interesting story, but I'm kind of tired of reading about it and seeing it in the paper EVERY day.

October 14, 2011 at 7:08 a.m.
ldurham said...

So Signal doesn't pick & choose it's hardship cases? I stand corrected. This is great news for every kid who bounces around from school to school, trying to avoid the wrong crowd.

I think I speak for every citizen, when I say thank you Signal Mountain, for your willingness to open your doors to students with similar hardships from throughout Hamilton County, regardless of their ability to play a sport.

Y'all should have bumper stickers printed: "Fix Chattanooga's gang problem: Send 'em to Signal!"

October 14, 2011 at 7:14 a.m.
GoEagles said...

To ldurham: Are you really that mean and vindictive? Do you really hate Signal Mountain that much that you have to be so bitter in your thoughts and comments? Do you really have a dog in this hunt? Please do us all a favor and take your hatred elsewhere? Tim does not need it, the other players and students don’t need it and the rest of Signal Mountain does not need it!

October 14, 2011 at 7:19 a.m.
rgp410 said...

Ward well written article! This is how I heard how it all transpired from another individual not affiliated with the school system and am glad this finally came out. Well done Shane! This is what life is about, a true mentor in life giving back something to an individual that will truely make a difference in their lifes. Tim,SM Eagle Football Team, and all those that read this,take this life lession, both positive and negitive, and make a difference in someones life! This is not about football but doing the right thing for humanity! No matter the outcome of the TSSAA and their little check box, Shane you have set a great example as a mentor and I hope all those affected , not the critics, can pass this on to others as they grow old.

October 14, 2011 at 7:26 a.m.
ldurham said...

GoEagles: I've got nothing against Signal Mountain. I'm just saying, stop pretending and playing holier-than-thou. Does Tim McClendon need a loving environment and a good school? Absolutely. (Although how he failed to find one in so many attempts is puzzling). But so does every student.

Y'all need to stop taking bows about how he's only there for the academics: everyone knows better. We know why he's there, and how he got there. We know rules weren't followed. The best thing Signal Mountain could do is come clean, admit that coaches have bent and broken the rules, and pledge to set a better example for their students and the community. And if Signal Mountain is the promised land for students like Tim McClendon, who says he couldn't attend other schools without getting in trouble, then accept them all.

If Signal Mountain is sincere about providing the best education possible for any student who desires it, the school should stop wasting energy fighting the organization that caught it breaking the rules, and instead, go into the inner city recruiting troubled kids who can't play football. If you all can't, or won't do that, we know you're just trying to fill a trophy case.

Now be honest: would Signal Mountain have spent so much time and energy, going to central office, falsifying documents and bending over backwards to enroll an LFO student who lives in Brainerd, if he wasn't a star football player? Prove the TSSAA wrong on that one, and you've got a case.

October 14, 2011 at 7:36 a.m.
javagirl said...

Tim, there are so many of us whom you have never met who are cheering you on. This is a life lesson, and as my mother often says, it is a brick in the foundation that builds the man. Whatever the decision on your eligibility and your teams wins/loses, take your coach's advice. Hold your head up. Be proud. Keep in school. Go to college. With your mother's support, and your mentor, remember "With God, all things are possible." I do not have kids at SMMHS, but I do have 2 sons. We are all supporting you and your teammates. Football can be a path to great things, but just remember that it's not the only path. Find that inner strength that helped you do such great athletic feats, and is also helping you read aloud in English class. They are not so different after all. Best of luck to you in your future. I'll be watching!

October 14, 2011 at 7:49 a.m.
MemphisGuy25 said...

Five Schools in Four Years! That's a MAJOR red flag. I don't care what the story says, this kid doesn't have any hardship. He is just a good football player who finally decided that it was his senior year and he had run out of options and pretty much run out of schools to go to, so he just "ends up" on Signal. Hardship to go to Signal living in Brainerd? He has to pass like 5 schools to go UP a mountain to go to school. Give me a break! What does this tell society? If you don't like where you go to school, then transfer. Then if you don't like that school then transfer again. Then a third time if you don't like your third school then you should transfer to another school. If the fourth school isn't your cup of tea, then maybe number five is it! This is ridiculous how schools or even coaches would even allow this guy to play or even come to thier school. Yea Tim is good, but he should be good at his original school. It's bought time that Wild Bill got caught...

October 14, 2011 at 7:53 a.m.
Wildman67 said...

It seems that this student was in the business of school shopping. Anyone who has been in 5 schools in 4 years is trouble. He should stick to one school and not go to others outside his zone.

I know the principal from Signal due to my time at Hixson in the 80's and at Chatt state in the mid 90's and I do have a problem with their football team. They are shopping for the best football players in the school system promising them hardships if they would attend their school. It's funny that McCollough is in charge of a school that has a winning team time and time again in such a short time and when he was at Hixson, the football team didn't have a winning season.

October 14, 2011 at 7:53 a.m.
Blueoval said...

Good article Ward and great post joepulitzer.....

October 14, 2011 at 8:04 a.m.
georgiaboy30736 said...

Here's a tidbit of information, although not related to an athlete. A mentally challenged girl that had been going to Ringgold High (her family lived in their district) has to move due to circumstances beyond her family's control. 100 yards into Whitfield County. Parents ask to pay "Out of County" tuition because although they cannot afford it, the child has excelled very well there. Catoosa County says not no, but h@ll no. This student is heartbroken and has had 3 seizures since being made to leave the school yesterday morning.

October 14, 2011 at 8:09 a.m.
ldurham said...

Does Signal advocate for all needy students, or just the ones with amazing athletic talents? Could the TFP please find out if any teachers from Signal have gone to central office to plead a hardship for a minority male learning-disabled student from Hixson/Howard/LFO/Brainerd who's 5-feet-4, weighs 130 pounds, and can't carry a football?

If the only hardships are being requested by traveling football coaches who run up scores, and think they're above the rules, there's a problem.

Again, I'm not against Tim McClendon getting a good education, and having a good life. I wish him only the best. I am, however, for ALL students getting such an opportunity. The same set of rules should apply to all, and the chance to obtain a better education by "hardship" should apply to all; not just those connected to rule-breaking coaches.

October 14, 2011 at 8:12 a.m.
Rorschach said...

tnvolssuckbad and idurham - signal mountain middle/high school accepted approximately 110 students out of the signal mountain zone last year. based on last years enrolement (approx 1100), this amount is about 10%. i know this because of a conversation i had with the administration after paying $180 school fee and wondered why my kid was without a science book for two weeks. it was due to the influx of new kids that wasn't anticipated. i was told 33 of these kids were from howard and 11 from east ridge. the other 60 plus kids come for various reasons. so signal takes their fair share of underprivileged kids.

as a parent of smmhs students, one of which being on the football team; dispite the consequences the tssaa hands down, i'm still glad tim is a student on the mountain and a member of the football team. he's such a great kid and i'm happy my kids rub shoulders with an outstanding young man daily. based on the reaction of the fans last night, i doubt i'm in the minority. GO EAGLES!!!

October 14, 2011 at 8:13 a.m.
eaglesenior said...

Hey yall. I'm a student at Signal. And for all of you who think we play dirty let me just say. 75 points on the score bored last night at our game. And we didn't have Tim last year to help us win state, yet we still did. To all you adults who are talking bad about a student. Shame on you!!!!!! You all laugh at the fact that he came up here for an education. Signal is one of the top 10 schools in our state with AMAZING test grades. That's why the kids who fail in the ghetto are sent to Signal because our school improves people. We are a big family and support each other. Before you speak about something you know nothing about get your facts strait. I am on the inside and Tim is one of my very good friends. You all know nothing about what Signal is about. Coach Price is one of the only coaches who really cares about grades and what his students do. It's all pure jealousy coming from ya'll! Our school is ranked well in academics. Tim came here for an education and football is just a plus. Just like to every other student here. Tim will be graduating with honors from Signal in the class of 2012. So for all of you who think it's just football and win, win, are wrong!!!!! Thanks for your time. And before you post something negative think about what you really know, cause deep down you don't have the facts.

October 14, 2011 at 8:16 a.m.
ChattaVol06 said...

ldurham is a dang joke!! I'd hate to live inside your bitter mind! It's funny that 4 of the 17 posts are by ldurham... obsess much?? If you have no dog in the fight, then why does this story mean so much to you?? Keep hiding behind your vail of privacy that is the internet message board. My guess is you wouldn't have the jewels to stand up in front of 150 people and defend your argument if you were given the chance.

October 14, 2011 at 8:22 a.m.
signalscubeman said...


October 14, 2011 at 8:26 a.m.
fpsub said...

How would you already know that Tim will be graduating with honors? He hasn't even completed a semester yet. He does sound like a great kid though, and I feel for him and his fellow teammates. People have gotten carried away with the stereotyping of the Signal Mountain community as being snobby, and it does sound like the school has been a good fit for McClendon. On the other hand, I do think that the administration screwed this one up. They should have known that getting an athlete like this who has gone to a different school every year would send up a red flag to the TSSAA, and they should have double checked their paperwork. I'm surprised that an experienced administrator like Tom McCullough would have overlooked something as obvious as that. The permission to attend a school and TSSAA approval to play a sport at that school are two completely separate issues. Dr. McCullough and athletic director Patti Lane, given their collective experience, should have been more than aware of this potential problem.

October 14, 2011 at 8:49 a.m.
maddawg said...

eaglesenior, Made it to 12th grade and still can't spell board???? Wow.

October 14, 2011 at 9 a.m.
fpsub said...

. . . or straight.

October 14, 2011 at 9:05 a.m.
bigpoppy said...

This is a great pitty story, did Signal pay for this too?

October 14, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
rgp410 said...

and some people have a problem spelling Dog not dawg. lol

October 14, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
whatsnottaken said...

Y'all down south should be happy Signal Mountain came up with a way to keep somebody in school. Don't 50-60 percent of drop out before graduating. You should be applauding and following its lead.

October 14, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
headcoconut said...

I hope he gets to stay. I hope he gets to play at SMMHS. However, the nagging question remains; if McClendon was not such a gifted athlete, who just so happens to be African-American and zoned for Brainerd. If McClendon was just a good student academically, would the school still want him? Would the school still be fighting for him to stay? There are other students zoned for Howard, Brainerd attending SMMHS who are not star football players like McClendon, nor gifted in other sports, parents and others at the school have openly demanded those students leave their pristine school. Even some of the teachers, staff and even principal. Who recently told one student they should leave and go to Howard. Which that student isn't even zoned for. But he looked at the color of the skin and decided, apparently, all students that with that skin tone must be zoned for Howard or Brainerd.

October 14, 2011 at 9:14 a.m.
maddawg said...

rgp410, dawg references GA Bulldogs. Not a football fan I see.

October 14, 2011 at 9:19 a.m.
ldurham said...

It is interesting that several Signal supporters have responded to my posts with name-calling and insults: but none have answered my basic questions. Still waiting. And anxious to hear details about any non-athletic, out-of-zone, learning-disabled minority "hardship" students who have been recruited, mentored, encouraged and nurtured by the school and community.

And to "eagle senior": You may want to inquire about a spelling class.

October 14, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.
catfancier53 said...

What a waste of space! Signal Mtn. & E. Hamilton have been recruiting players since they opened! Bad enough that the private schools have been stealing talent, but now our new Public-Private schools are doing the same thing. I have NO SYMPATHY for the young man or the school, both of whom knew exactly what they were doing wrong and continued to do it even after being notified. Quit printing such garbage!

October 14, 2011 at 9:46 a.m.
nowfedup said...

Great story, perhaps a little to great. Reality is sports are a bigger deal for most schools then preparing kids to compete intellectualy at world class levels. Ask most foreign exchange students from industrial nations, they will often tell you USA about 1-2 years behind, some ever worry they might not get full credits back home for fresh, Jr, Sr classes in USA. Most all are stunned, as is world at how USA puts way to much emphasis on sports, not enough on real education. Doubt this, when is last time you saw ANY articles pushing academics as media does sports? We must remember media, TV for one, makes big bucks off free HS games they promote, lots of ad money, so they way over hype,now nearly to college levels. Worse, college levels now covered hyped to pro levels, again very profitable. Very common knowledge, more so across south, kids now shop for best sports programs, transfer as recruited by coaches, same or worse at college levels. Suspect this is just another case of same ole corrupted over emphasis on sports at expense of real education. Most evil part of this is massive number of serious injury(s) at HS level,most in college end up car sales, as only 1/3% end up as way over paid pros. The rejects end up tossed away.

Core issue is not this student, whom in reality was recruited, another tool for "win at all costs", but how come a USA in desperate need of hi tech, world class competitive HS/College grads has this strong, well known recruiters for sports, while education to grow nation suffers. What will it take, and is there time to re-prioritize education though college, put sports last and labs first, math above lib arts, sciences above plays? All HS/College Sports used to be fun when it was just that, now education seems just a support group for sports. How sad,even PBS had great story on how dirty USA HS sports have become. BUt the good ole boys Icon, the Sneer, as "ya'll we ur jus a doing what we can to have a winning team", while the reality is "We" are losing the education, the future of this city, county, state and nation at an alarming level. TN is bottom of pit for education, yet this thing has what seems professional level PR behind it, WHY, if "It is just a game"? Time to re-prioritize folks, as the brilliant authored note from "HS Senior" more then proved as well as TN standing in education.

I would guess we all, one the classic southern "wink-nod, it's OK" is done, deep down, know if this kid, how ever deserving, had not been great in sports, he'd have never been "allowed" all those transfers. Such, as stand alone item, is a disgrace to all of us. Way to much spin for a "just a HS player", way to much when schools cutting real education, and TN at bottom.

October 14, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.
rgp410 said...

no maddog (spelling correction) not a Georgia fan! Thats why I put LOL.

October 14, 2011 at 9:50 a.m.
ldurham said...

whatsnottaken said: "you should be happy Signal Mountain came up with a way to keep somebody in school. Don't 50-60 percent of drop out before graduating. You should be applauding and following its lead."

I agree 100%. I'm saying that since Signal is reportedly so concerned about the problem, they should expand their reach. Don't just go after the stud athletes. Go into Brainerd High (and the other schools where Tim felt unsafe) and recruit more learning-challenged minority students who want a better education....whether they can play a sport or not. From what I'm reading, this is what Signal Mountain wants to do, and that's commendable.

"Fix Chattanooga's gang problem: Send them to Signal." I think it just might work.

October 14, 2011 at 9:52 a.m.
headcoconut said...

Will members of the school still be hugging onto McClendon and fighting for him to stay if or when he has his first major injury and can no longer play for the school? The term EXPLOITATION of this young man comes to mind.

I can recall a similar incident years ago at another school like SMMHS. As long as the young man was making touchdowns and scoring for that school that school didn't allow his feet to touch the ground, so to speak. When he made the decision to stop playing football and instead get an after school job to help support his single mom and younger siblings, he was told "You might as well leave. You don't have enough credits to graduate anyway."

I see that same once promising athlete from time to time now. He's a now broken man working in a small mom and pop store/restaurant, barely earning minimum wage. Not to mention he's also served time in prison.

October 14, 2011 at 10:04 a.m.
ricerocket said...

catfancier53, look on E. Hamilton roster and find me one player that isnt in zone that u claim to be "recruited" silly cat

October 14, 2011 at 10:16 a.m.

Boy it is so sad to see the bitterness and hatred towards Signal. I say to all those that knock the school that you must have some ulterior motive. This school only got built because the Community put their hand in their pockets and paid (and are still paying) towards the building. Did you help build or support your school? The parents and teachers have pushed to make this a great above average school, and are led by a great Principal whose leadership is outstanding. Why would so many Howard, East Ridge and others want to travel daily up the mountain if the school did not have something to offer? This school offers them a chance, a chance to escape the problems in their current schools and take advantage of one that is succeeding academically. With students clambering to go to school there, and they are already at capacity, you are bound to have successes in other athletic activities too. Did Signal recruit their three year State Champion golf team? Or is it perhaps that along with higher academic standards they also have the best teachers and coaches. One thing that does bother me is the Community financially support's the Mountain schools, as the Government and County are cash strapped. But the inner city schools like Howard get extra funding to help with the NCLB act. So sometimes the students at other schools who cannot make the grades and standards on Signal are better off at their local city school, where the extra money can provide them with extra help they need. The schools on Signal have less funding, but thanks to parental support make it stretch further. So I encourage all parents who want to see their school and teams succeed, to put their hands in their pockets instead of opening their mouths to criticize. And for your information not all of Signal is wealthy. Those that are financially better off often use the great Private schools like Baylor. Signal must be doing something right though, as a student like Tim McClendon who has moved around a lot and found it hard to fit in elsewhere, travels up there and is welcomed as family and loves it. That in itself is the best endorsement of the school, and shows that they lack prejudice for one's color, financial situation or background. That does not sound like the actions of rich so called 'snobs' to me. Sounds more to me like they treat everyone as equals and accept everybody, and give ALL the students the best opportunities that are available. Can the same be said of the other area school? I hope so. But if not, then why don't you put your money and support where your mouth is, and emulate the Signal hard working students, school and community and try and make your school better, rather than just trying to knock Signal.

October 14, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
allears said...

A coach having that kind of relationship with a player is definitely recruiting, read your TSSAA rules yet again......Article may hurt situation and not help it at all.

October 14, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.
ldurham said...

englishman said: "Why would so many Howard, East Ridge and others want to travel daily up the mountain if the school did not have something to offer? This school offers them a chance, a chance to escape the problems in their current schools and take advantage of one that is succeeding academically."

Looks like we agree. I say, open the Signal Mountain doors, open them wide. Not just to gifted athletes, but all inner city students who need to escape. It worked for Tim, it can work for many, many others.

I hope that if any non-athletic student from anywhere in Hamilton County has been denied their hardship transfer to Signal, they will copy this article, go to central office and say, "I want to be like Tim."

October 14, 2011 at 10:47 a.m.
reallytruly said...

I say let him play, let all players play where ever they want, but come on with the sob story. Better Education in one year. LFO is a good school. He was recruited plan and simple.

October 14, 2011 at 10:49 a.m.
ricerocket said...

Some people have absolutely no idea what they are talking about sometimes, here are the facts

Hardships are easy to come by, they come a dime a dozen… my kids what’s to go here because… and I understand he/she is out of zone and personal transportation will be provided. HCBE will approve no problem at all. The other rule most people don’t know about and I am 100% sure the AD, coach, and assistant principal know unless they were utter morons (which I doubt but wonder sometimes) is if a student athlete has any form or an athletic record from any school the previous year, that student is not allow to participate in TSSAA sanction event until 365 calendar days upon leaving his previous schools program, UNLESS the student athlete has a bonafide change in residence. Just another FYI, TSSAA requires an eligibility form to be filled out on EVERY single student athlete that is on any teams roster (thus giving then an athletic record). Blame it on a mistake on a form(that’s a joke, when u have a winner program with 80+ kids on the roster and that’s all you can say is “oops” so you tell them oops I pressed the wrong button, your season is only guaranteed 10 game and the post seasons depends on if anyone checks the forms at TSSAA headquarters. No you don’t make those kinds of mistakes).

And the sad truth is, yeah people do hate on SMMHS, and yes this entire team will have to pay for this “oops” but that’s the price of being number one, you have a target on your back and you’re examined under a microscope. Take your medicine, OWN up for once, show a little class, and if your such a great program (which I’m not saying you’re not), bounce back. It’s that simple.

October 14, 2011 at 10:55 a.m.
weezy42 said...

This note goes out to all boys who love football. Keep your heads up. Many people are very proud of you.

October 14, 2011 at 10:59 a.m.

ldurham - You read some of my post, but missed other points. There are some students who just cannot make the grades and will get more help through Government money and support at their current school than Signal can provide. Therefore a transfer would not benefit the student. Plus the family has to be able to commit their support to the transfer, i.e. early starts to make the transport to the Mountain, maintaining standards etc. I know that not all those that attend from off the Mountain are Star athletes. Signal is at capacity and takes these extra students and is partnered with Howard HS and East Ridge MS. Signal helps where they can, but you are asking the one school and the parents and community to solve all the inner city problems, including gangs. All that would happen is the problem would transfer as well. Each school and the surrounding Community needs to step up and improve their social and educational woes. Why should Signal have to bear the burden of a problem that it did not create and cannot fund. I am sure that if the Money that goes into the city schools for the NCLB act were to be filtered to them, then maybe Signal could open their doors to more students. Of course 'ldurham', you are more than welcome to add your financial contribution just as you are so willing to share your condemnations in your posts. Let me know and I will gratefully provide you with the address where the Community support goes to Fund the mountain schools.

October 14, 2011 at 11:09 a.m.
WEBMAN said...


October 14, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
ldurham said...

"englishman" wrote: "Signal is at capacity and takes these extra students and is partnered with Howard HS and East Ridge MS. Signal helps where they can, but you are asking the one school and the parents and community to solve all the inner city problems, including gangs. All that would happen is the problem would transfer as well."

So Signal is at capacity? How did they possibly make room for this hardship case? Are they now out of room? If a 6-6, 260 pound stud middle linebacker from Highway 58 thinks he can get a better, uh, education at Signal, will his hardship be denied? Even if certain coaches/school board members go to central office to plead his case? Is this how the ineligible player got to Signal?

And as for "transferring the problems," welcome to the real world. Signal has not been granted immunity from that, nor should it be.

But please, don't tell the world you're at capacity, and you can't take needy students when you somehow found room (at the last minute) for a football superstar from the other side of the county.

October 14, 2011 at 11:58 a.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....

October 14, 2011 at 12:23 p.m.

I think I understand the passions that have evoked so many responses to this situation. Neither the supporters of Signal nor its detractors are likely to give in much to the views of the other. Some truths have been stated, and many unproven accusations/motives expressed. The only thing that really can be stated with certainty is that the TSSAA is interested only in applying the rules that each member voluntarily agreed to.They represent one of the few remaining groups that require the folks that operate under their auspices to be responsible for doing what they agreed to do.The TSSAA has not challenged HCDE's authority to determine where any student may attend school. However, they have reserved their right to determine any student's eligibility to participate in TSSAA sanctioned athletic events based on the bylaws each member school has agreed to. They have made that decision. If SMMHS can convince them that they have responsibly followed the agreed upon bylaws, perhaps a different result will follow. The issue is not one necessarily of percieved fairness to one school, but rather whether or not all schools can count on the TSSAA consistently holding each school responsible for its conduct, not its intentions. Actions are clearly visible. Intentions depend on what people say they were or are.

October 14, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
LZD2011 said...

It states in the article that Tim McClendon said he "wanted to get the best education possible so that is why he went to Signal Mtn." Does anyone really think that was his main goal, to get the best education? Anyone who has kids knows that they are not worried about a good education....they go to school because they have to and it's the parents that have that wish. I am not the least bit impressed with the article. I also feel it was a bunch of fluff and wonder how many people actually buy all that CRAP? I have personally witnessed the snobbiness and holier than thou attitudes of SOME of the Signal Mtn. parents. I realize that everyone from that area isn't like that but, for the most part, the majority of them are. When we played them at our school I heard one parent say to her child, "This is the kind of football facitilies you have when you don't have money, aren't you glad you don't go here?" I witnessed a drunk parent of one of the "standouts" at the game and a SM fan was cursing continuously behind my friend who had a small child with her. I understand that this is only a sampling of SM residents and does not represent all of them, it is the impression that you get about SM. It is a sad tale when the mothers of the opposing team get together for prayer to ask God for the ability to "keep their tongue" so they will not lower themselves to the level of the opposing teams fans. I have been on the chain-gang for our schools home games and heard Mr. Price say, "Boys, we are gonna score 100 pts. tonight" Running up the score and wanting desperately to embarrass another team is not a good quality in any coach and people don't like SM for that reason. If they knew how they come across to others then maybe they would understand. I do not begrudge ANY winning team! That is the goal, isn't it? But to demoralize other teams in the process is not and endearing quality. WIN, WIN, WIN, Signal Mtn. but win with some humility! When your players do well on the field, act like you have been there before. I am afraid it won't be any better until Price is gone, which won't be very long. He doesn't stay after the talent runs out..........

October 14, 2011 at 1:38 p.m.

ldurham, I am still waiting to see you post something positive. Your negativity towards Signal helps nobody. Yes Signal is at capacity, as is East Hamilton, both popular because they are new and successful. But you were not talking about transferring one child, but ALL the city kids to Signal to solve the problems. That sounds rather a Communist view to me. Rather than have a few good schools and a few bad, and try and imrove the bad, you want to transfer the problem and make them all BAD. How does that help? Signal already has a bunch of kids from Howard who are seeking help to improve their chances in their academics. I do not know how many are Star athletes, but I guarantee it is not many. The community that has the woes of these problem schools has to improve them and the social problems that help create them. Signal cannot be expected to solve all the county problems. I will bet that with the TSSAA action, and especially if they uphold the decision, there will be fewer 'Hardship Transfers' except for legitimate reasons. But I would say that if you had a child who was stuggling and you had the opportunity to give the a better education you would take it. And if that came with a Winning team that your son could play on, that would be a great bonus. And as for these transfers, children move all around the county on a regular basis as well as in and out of state. Schools have the obligation to take children sent there, and so I am sure Signal will continue to take and help many children and not just those that reside on the Mountain. But remember Signal won last year without McClendon, just as they did last night, and with, or without him, they will go forward to many future victories both on and off the fields.

October 14, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.
ldurham said...

Englishman, please explain how LFO is a bad school. I had never heard that, or gotten that impression until I read the TFP article. The teachers don't care? The students made fun of a 6-3, 230 pound football star? He didn't feel safe? They graduated almost 300 seniors last year, many of them honor students and award winners. OH. But they didn't have a winning football team. I see.

And obviously, I'm not seriously suggesting that every inner city kid apply for a hardship transfer to Signal. I am suggesting that those who do, receive the same consideration and courtesy that a football superstar did. And if extracurriculars are involved, I would hope Signal would follow the rules, as directed by the TSSAA....which they have certainly not done in the past.

October 14, 2011 at 2:17 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

(1.) Everyone wants to be associated with the school that has the record of having a good reputation, deserving or not.

(2.) No one wants to be associated with a school that has a negative or bad reputation, deserving or not.

Point is, there are bad things that have gone on at SMMHS that are covered up. There are good things that go on at those schools with a bad reputation the public never hear about.

It's the reputation of the school that can hurt or break a student for decades to come. Especially in the corporate world. Do any of you remember that quote: "Your school record and reputation of the school you attend will follow you more closely and can affect you more so than your work history will?"

The first thing many employers in the corporate world will take into account is the high school a perspective employee attended and the type of reputation that school has/had.

That's why many school do more to protect its image. Unfortunately, too many inner-city schools have gone off the chart with its reportings of negative issues, even when such reports weren't warranted. I don't think they understand the ramifications involved for both them, the image of the schools and the future of their students. Inner-city schools in Chattanooga have alwayd had a special cross to bare with undeserved negativism. It's unfortunate in that a lot of that negativism has come from the inside at the hands of staff, members and even some parents and students wanting to leave a school, believing the grass is always greener on the other side.

October 14, 2011 at 2:21 p.m.

LZD2011 How you can accuse the majority of Signal as 'snobs' beats me. Of course there are some that look down their noses at everybody else, but trust me they do NOT all reside on Signal or Lookout. It would be foolish to say there are none, but they are NOT the vast majority, rather the opposite is true and they are very much in the minority. I have seen athletic games all over the area and would say that bad sports, poor coaching, over enthusiastic parents, winning at all costs etc. is a universal problem. It seems to me that the Sports have all lost the reason they are played, and that is for FUN and physical recreation. Kids go to school to learn and the sports teams should be secondary, but according to these posts on here and elsewhere good common sense is lost and replaced by jealousy and bad sportsmanship. And as footnote, I see nothing wrong with a coach boosting his team and ebncouraging them to play their best, but I have yet to see a game where they have scored 100 points. I agree that once you have a good lead you can change the play to keep the scores a little more even, but I have not seen a game where the Eagles have not been scored against. At least in all the games i have seen the opposing team at least had some good plays and put points on the board. Signal can and has been beaten as shown twice this season, but to beat them over paperwork instead of on the field, seems very unfair on the team and especially the players. Maybe Thursday's ruling will change all that. Punishing the hard working boys for something they did not do seems a huge mis-carriage of Justice.

October 14, 2011 at 2:24 p.m.
nowfedup said...

You folks all miss the point of schooling. THE HS IS THERE TO PROVIDE EDUCATION FOR FUTURE JOBS. The HS is not there to provide sport stars for college etc. Sadly none of you seem overly concerned that way to much emphasis on sports and nearly zero mention of education. NOTE from experience what HS attended is not a big deal for employers, rather how much the potential employee learned. Ask employers, most feel that HS and a lot of college grads are not equipped for real job world. Worst kept secret going that some jump from school to school to get on more noticed sports teams, why do most ignore it? We simply worship our gladiators at the expense of an educated generation, as did one other formerly great nation, ever heard of Rome? We are very close to mimic there, import all, useless official, zero peoples representation and way over rated gladiators to amuse and distract from reality. FYI< that was taught in history classes at one time when USA led world. Any of you clowns noted we are getting economic and job butts kicked by nations that do not have state, regional playoffs, championships of bowl games? They are sending their factories here for cheap nearly illiterate dumbed down min wage labor while their nations grow and progress, USA is becoming third world, more so each day.

October 14, 2011 at 2:44 p.m.
Wildman67 said...

Signal or any other school should be in any partnership with any other scholl outisde of thier zone. McClendon was dead wrong in shopping around for schools with the best education which is BS. He was recruited by his former coach. Liek saomeone mention 5 schools in 4 years is definitely a red flag and she shouldn't have been allowed to play football at any of his other schools. I know a few things abouyt the prinical at Signal and he is probably glad that he had a winning team since at his time in Hixson there was no winning season.

October 14, 2011 at 3:19 p.m.
georgia13 said...

I'm a student at SMMHS, and I would like to say that Tim may have gone to Signal Mountain predominately for the football team, but also for our academics. Yes, we may not be helping every struggling student from a situation such as Tim, but at the same time, these students may not be asking for help. I went to a private school previous to going to Signal, and we had a Learning Center,a class teaching us how to study, and many other tools to help us learn how to succeed. Even though we don't have all of that at Signal, most of the teachers here are willing to stay after any day of the week to help a student in need. They even started their own "Learning Center" here at Signal for students who couldn't stay after because of bus schedules, and had a bus come here to get them. Last year was the first year Signal allowed students from Howard and other schools to come up here and be a student, and many things happened last year that the principal probably had to fix so those mistakes would not be re-made. There were many fights, and many students who would get suspended. I had spoken to numerous students last year, who said the only reason they were here is they had nowhere else to go. A lot of these students had come up to Signal Mountain because they had been expelled or had problems at their old school, and they would disturb classrooms, cause fights, and this raised tension in the hallways. This year, a many of these students have not been able to come back, and Signal is more careful of who is allowed to attend this school.We are a small community, and because we are so small, racial diversity tolerance can be a problem. And if we want to come together as a school, we need to have people who want to be here to be here. If Tim McLendon had problems at his old school, regardless of how academically-challenging and funded it was, that is his business. Although Signal may have broken the rules, it is not something that is unheard of for any school to do. I know Tim personally, and he is a nice kid who wants to be here. And because of this story being everywhere, yes, he is more well known and praised than most students, but wouldn't that also mean that if Dr. McCullough were to ask him to leave Signal, it would only make matters worse?

October 14, 2011 at 3:52 p.m.

The final point I'll add is just this. At another school in a different state, I faced a situation similar to this. I was the head coach and athletic director. The school secretary left the name of one of our players off the official eligibilty report sent to our version of TSSAA. It was on the list I had given to her. The player in question had gone to school at our school since ninth grade and was a senior that season. He met every criteria for eligibility, except his name had been left off the list that was sent in. When I happened to catch the mistake, we had already played three games, winning them all. We had to forfeit all games in which he played. His eligibility was restored when I personally delivered his name to the state association. The mistake was the secretary's to a minor degree, but the complete responsibility was mine. My job was to ensure that the list was accurate and complete. It would have been easy to try to place the blame on someone else, or to say how unfair it was to the other players on our team. In fact, it was unfair of me to feel sorry for myself. I let my players and school down, but I understood the reasoning behind the decision. Playing an ineligible player gave us an unfair competitive advantage over the teams we were playing.Maybe it would be helpful for everyone to think about the impact on the teams that played Signal. I haven't followed SMMHS' games closely this year but i'm fairly confident that the player in question probably had a significant impact on the outcome of some of those games.Ask yourself if that strikes anyone as fair. By the way, we ended up in the playoffs, and our school recieved the sportsmanship award for our district, not bad for a school that played an ineligible player.

October 14, 2011 at 4:03 p.m.
ldurham said...

georgia 13 said: "This year, a many of these students have not been able to come back, and Signal is more careful of who is allowed to attend this school."

If only every school had that luxury.

October 14, 2011 at 4:04 p.m.
fan said...

There are always two sides to every story, Mr Gossett is great at giving Signals side as he should but if you read his article about Signal's incredible victory against "all odds" it is a little misleading: Mr. Gossett, Signal did win the game by a huge margin. I'm sure you are not anti-CCS but instead of you giving them credit for playing a good first half 35-28 at one point( shredding Signals defense for 300+ yards passing in the first half,( you did have a blip about CCS's quaterback setting a personal record ), you quoted coach Price talking about how "banged-up" they were as the reason for all the yards CCS got passing just to clarify, part of the "banged up" involved players that ( yes they are legally there) are from outside the community Signal has a good team don't get me wrong but it was obvious that if you take out the non-resident personnel ( and yes they are there legally so that is not the point ) Signal becomes less of a powerhouse. Yes they scored 76 points but CCS has made most teams look good offensively. Signal also before the game had planned to keep the starters/ seniors in the whole game since they only will probably have 2 left ( their response was this is nothing personal. By the way, there was no hard feelings on CCS's account but it did kind of skew things ( especially when the starting tailback is scoring a touchdown with with less than 2 minutes left and the score is already 69-35 ), I wish Mr Gossett would have included this account at the game in his article: on Signals last series of the game with very little time left ,they decided for whatever reason they needed another score, so they decided to pass, fortunately,( as Steve Spurrier would say about his gators),"God was shining down on CCS": as the "starting" SM qb drops back to pass, a reserve defensive man for CCS blind sides the qp forces a fumble and recovers the football, I may be mistaken, but for some reason I thought I heard a small cheer from the SM fans after that play!( okay I made that up about the small cheer) Signal has a lot of incredible things going for it at that achool, # 3 has done some amazing things despite his adversity. Athletics, even football is a small part of any school, unfortunately it gets a lot of press and does influence the outside community opinion of Signal or any schoolfor that matter. We all need to remember that our actions speak louder than our words !

October 14, 2011 at 4:33 p.m.
xyz123 said...

Those people who continually want to argue this situation need to step back and take a good look at their own lives. Are your children well provided for or were they? Did you ever have a dream for them to do better or improve from whatever it was they were interested in? Was your own life the best you could live?

As a parent my kids attend where I want them too. I am content because my parents instilled passion in me to always do my best no matter what I did. This opportunity is not afforded to all people unfortuantely as I had 2 parents who taught me values. Values a lot of people apparently have never learned.

Too many people are casting stones at a young man and a school that they know nothing about. Shane did an impressive thing in grabbing the attention of a young man who possibly did not have a bright future so he could try to make something out of it. Anyone ever try really hard to help a child who wasn't yours? Shane doesn't have a dog in this race except the pride in his heart to try to help a child that was "interested" in what he had to say. This is a rare thing in this day and age. Maybe if everyone would quit trying to place blame on anyone and let the "adults" work it out it might be a better world today. A place where we could all leave our children safely at home without the worry of "outside influences" that are everywhere.
Kids go to transfer schools everyday and Signal is not to blame for this student getting a hardship granted. They did not sign off on the document. They are done every day as situations arise all the time all over the county.

McCullough has done his job and continues to do it well as the school is academically and athletically successful as I have been reading. Who cares about the past schools records where he was academically or athletically. He did have state winning teams even then though. Football is not the only sport. Instead of being a "target" maybe it should instill some pride in the community to take some pride in your schools that are around you and try to help the schools out and quit worrying about things that don't concern you.

I applaud any adult who can actually get a student to listen. We don't all grow up with a golden spoon in our mouth and it takes people who take special interest in us sometimes to get us motivated to want to do the right thing. Get a good education, have fun playing sports if that is your thing, and try our best to be a productive citizen.

Take the kids out of this equation and quite trying to bully them into your ideas. I am proud of any of the kids I see posting on here. They are supporting their ideas and vocalizing it as the school provides them with the means to learn how to do this without flaggrant disregard to the fact that we are all human beings.

October 14, 2011 at 4:41 p.m.
steve_smith said...

It seems pretty simple. It's high school football. Nobody is gonna stem the perennial poverty problem with who plays where. Nobody is gonna care ten years from now who played for who. All it seems is we have a few overly jealous folks who feel better about themselves when they can criticize the successful. If that is what constitutes the best thing going for you in life - well go ahead. Cast aspersions. Assume the worst. Make a fool of yourself.

Instead of tearing down, why not build up. Be the change you want to see. There are bigger problems in Hamilton County than whether a kid played football when some bureaucratic organization says he was ineligible to play. There are worse things than a judgment that you've forfeit 6 ball games. Heck, why care about the TSSAA. Opt out. The divisions are a joke anyway. Invite other teams in Hamilton County to play and if they will they will. If they are afraid - so be it. Heck offer 'em a head start. Play 'em with the JV team.

Just don't stop trying to win. Don't let the loudmouths and ne'er-do-wells dictate how you go about success. Those idiots think excellence is unfair unless everyone is "excellent." That just doesn't make sense. Just keep doing what you are doing. Attract the best and brightest. That competition is what makes everyone better even if every one doesn't end up with the same score. In short, ignore the rabble or you'll become the rabble.

October 14, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
hamjam40 said...

The TSSAA and the ldurham person hate black people...... the entire issue with Tim McClendon is nothing but the TSSAA pandering to a jealous racist mob.

October 14, 2011 at 5:47 p.m.
disassociated said...

ldurham I think you need to look at this from another viewpoint. Obviously you are anti-Signal Mountain and no one can change your bitterness. Did you stop and think about this kid? Do you know this kid, or his mentor? If my child was threatened a knife-point or was not receiving a great education I would do whatever it took to get him into the best school possible. Thank God for Ward Gossett writing this article and being FAIR by getting the child's perspective on what happened when you have a bunch of LIBERAL MORONS at the TFP like CLAY BENNETT sitting around drawing cartoons that bash a high school for a living. Until you can wrap your mind around what Tim McClendon has gone through in his life, and what it means for a 17 year old kid who has never had a lot to live for, to finally feel a part of something and feel like he can succeed, then you need to keep your ignorant thoughts to yourself. God Bless SMMHS and the people there who have made this kid a part of their family. The fact that this kid plays football is your only argument, because I guarantee you if he was a non-athlete it wouldn't matter to you either way what he did. You don't get a diploma from hs that says anything about being a football player.

October 14, 2011 at 6:04 p.m.
hamjam40 said...

The TSSAA entire case is nothing but a thinly veiled attack from a jealous racist mob of adults using technicalities in the rule book as sword and tool of revenge on innocent kids. The only crime of these kids is trying to pursue excellence (in Tim McClendons case transcend the ghetto) meanwhile they are merely collateral cannon fodder in the "big get even".... Its hard to be an Eagle because our kids are held to a higher standard on the field and in the classroom.....Signal parents and players love Tim McClendon because his work ethic and attitude demonstrate he belongs here..... and Signal welcomes all kids who want to be here.......Signal Mountain Eagles, mess with one mess with heart beat baby...

October 14, 2011 at 6:14 p.m.
1982indian said...

It probably all started with the hiring of Shane Roberson. You see he coached at Fort Oglrthrope last year. He gets a job at Signsl Mtn. and look who followed. They might fire him now that McClendon can't play anymore.

October 14, 2011 at 6:34 p.m.
ldurham said...

Racist? Read my posts again. I'm not against Tim being at Signal. To the contrary, I'm against the fact that most kids in similar situations (who are not world-class athletes) can NOT get into Signal. I'm against the fact that Signal apparently (according to the TSSAA) ignores the rules to admit a student from Brainerd ONLY because he's a world-class athlete. I think Signal, if indeed they're honest about their mission of helping disadvantaged youths, should fill every available space with such children. If they're only doing it to beef up a football roster, and fill a trophy case, they're doing it for the wrong reasons.

And as for the TSSAA being racist, and hating on black kids? Take a look at executive director Bernard Childress, an African-American man. Want to call him a racist? That's your call.

October 14, 2011 at 6:44 p.m.
xyz123 said...

Every student in the county has the opportunity to transfer out due to NCLB and transfers are given all the time based on hardships as well. If the county grants permission the school CAN NOT deny it. I think that is a fact that is being missed by all. Not to mention that football is a "team" sport in case the non-athletes do not know that. The Signal Mountain TEAM has won the games collectively and are continuing to "fill their trophy case" based on the efforts of EVERY student athlete that is there in EVERY sport at the school. Congrats Signal keep up the hard work. The community is proud of you whether a Signal Mountainer or not! We should be proud of our schools no matter where they are in the county when they achieve such greatness under the leadership of dedicated coaches, administrators and teachers.

October 14, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

Some of you are misinformed about NCLB waivers. Students who are in a designated "failing" school only are given one or two "successful" partner schools to which they may request to transfer. They cannot simply transfer anywhere. For Brainerd, which failed to meet AYP in math, reading, and graduation rates, the options are Ooltewah and Sale Creek only. Tim McClendon applied for and received a general hardship which would require his parent/guardian to give a specific reason why he needed to attend Signal Mountain. What was written on that form will not likely be published without his permission (if he's 18) or his legal guardian's (if he is under 18) because of his educational privacy rights. You can see the rest of the NCLB partner schools here:

But honestly, the fact that McClendon was approved for a hardship waiver by HCDE has little to do with the TSSAA issue, as mentioned above. TSSAA has different guidelines for clearing transfers which determine a player's eligibility to play. If incorrect information was put on McClendon's TSSAA eligibility form, it is Signal Mountain's responsibility. There is no way that an administrative and coaching staff with as much experience as Signal Mountain's was completely unaware of the rules.

October 14, 2011 at 9:33 p.m.
IMnotsoHO said...

I have been waiting for anyone to state the obvious here. If this player and his advisors were truly angling to get him a college education, he should have stayed and played at Brainerd, oddly enough, the school his address zones him for. Why, you ask? Brainerd High School is a Tennessee Promise School. He would have been GUARANTEED the opportunity to get a college education at UTK, had he simply graduated and applied. This WAS NOT about getting an education. This was about FOOTBALL.

Read below ( Tennessee Promise Scholarship The Tennessee Promise Scholarship program is the only one of its kind in the state. Any new student who is admitted and enrolls at the University of Tennessee from one of the eligible high schools listed below will receive a scholarship valued at up to $7,382 per year plus a $1,200 award for other educational expenses. The Promise Scholarship, combined with the HOPE and other university scholarships, will provide funds to assist with tuition and fees for up to four years (eight semesters) on the Knoxville campus.

Although no scholarship application is required for this guaranteed award, the following must be satisfied to qualify:

Apply for admissions as a first-time, first-year entering freshman by December 1 Be a Tennessee resident Graduate from a Tennessee Promise high school (listed below) Submit FAFSA prior to February 15 Enroll as a full-time student Eligible Tennessee High Schools

School City Antioch High School Antioch Austin East High / Magnet Knoxville B T Washington High School Memphis Brainerd High School Chattanooga Carver High School Memphis Central High School Memphis East High School Memphis East Ridge High School Chattanooga Fairley High School Memphis Fayette Ware Comprehensive High School Somerville Frayser Middle/ High School Memphis Fulton High School Knoxville Glencliff Comp High School Nashville Hamilton High School Memphis Howard School Of Academics Technology Chattanooga Kingsbury Middle/ High School Memphis Kirby High School Memphis Manassas High School Memphis Maplewood Comp High School Nashville Melrose High School Memphis Mitchell Middle/ High School Memphis Northside High School Memphis Oakhaven Middle/ High School Memphis Pearl Cohn Magnet High School Nashville Raleigh Egypt High School Memphis Sheffield High School Memphis Stratford Comp High School Nashville Trezevant High School Memphis Tyner Academy Chattanooga Westwood Middle/ High School Memphis Whites Creek Comp High School Whites Creek Wooddale High School Memphis

October 14, 2011 at 9:46 p.m.
steve_smith said...

The question that needs to be answered is: How many instances are there where students are granted "hardship waivers," travel outside of their zone to attend a school with the blessing of the HCDE and who also are allowed by the TSSAA to participate in athletics. I hope we can find a journalist who can ferret out that number. If McClendon is the only one- then heck, Signal Mountain cheated. If the TSSAA allows others to do it, we need to know. The idea that this kind of situation is like a speeder arguing that he isn't guilty of speeding because other cars were speeding doesn't hold up. Officers don't allow others to speed. They just don't catch all of them. I want to know if the TSSAA allows other schools to play athletes outside of their "zone."

October 14, 2011 at 9:48 p.m.
hamjam40 said...

I talked to a lawyer and a surgeon who spent 2 days trying to figure out the rule book regarding Hamilton County School Districts requirements and the TSSAA's requirements and how it all fits together....if its confusing to two PHD's..... then it is too protracted and ridiculous for a kid trying to transcend the ghetto.... I mean really are we going to have to involve legal aide and set up a department for the convoluted mess involving student transfers...if the it's difficult for academic elites to understand then its too darn difficult and rules and process changes are in order. I especially don't like the oligarchy set-up with the TSSAA they have no checks and balances , and are held accountable by no-one. Lawsuits and the ACLU are in order here. RE: Childeress being Black ....he's merely the figure that the oligarchs push out front ....its the oligarchy not a single person running the show....except I doubt they will be wielding power like a sword after this year...ldurham you have jealousy and hatred seathing from the pores of your skin..... you have a sick soul and need to get a bible out and read it .... work on your anger and spiritual immaturity and gain wisdom that comes only throughout the holy spirit. Reading your hate based agenda makes has strenghtened my resolve to take people that think the way you do out of the equation.

October 14, 2011 at 10:40 p.m.
hamjam40 said...

One more thing our band is the best, or drama program is the best, our academic standards exceed state requirements and we are also the best in these areas too....we are so much more than a football team....this is the house that excellence built !

October 14, 2011 at 10:46 p.m.
Bobo said...

Steve smith, According to a source at hcde, there are over 400 kids with hardships playing athletics outside their zone. To my knowledge they have never been challenged. Sounds like TSSAA is gonna be busy.

October 14, 2011 at 10:50 p.m.
Bobo said...

Oh and that's only in Hamilton Co.!

October 14, 2011 at 10:53 p.m.
urbanleader said...

Interesting information!! I do not have an interest in the outcome but I do have an interest in the story. It is my understanding that while at his current address Tim attended Hixson on a hardship his freshman year and was on the football team. They obviously would have played him at some point. Soddy's coach is on record saying they to interprate the hardship the same as Signal and their hardship student/athletes are allowed to participate. It is obvious in Hamilton County and across the state student athletes are being allowed to participate out of their territory when a hardship has been granted by their board of education. I know for a fact (b/c my friend a guidance couselor at a local school recv'd the email from the TFP) the TFP is trying to gather information concerning how many kids are on hardship and how many are athletes. The HCDE has not been cooperative in providing this information. The HCDE is having to contact schools individually. How will or should it be handled if it is found that this is a city and state wide issue?? Tim sounds like a wonderful young man. I think Roberson should sleep well at night knowing he made a difference in someones life. If everyone would choose to try and make a difference in a young persons life, our cities, states and country should would be a better place. Too bad the TSSAA does not have Tim's best interest at heart. Good Luck Young Man!!!

October 14, 2011 at 11:01 p.m.
Zeugen said...

The person who commented that Hixson never had a winning season while Tom McCollough was principal is incorrect. In the 1984/85 season Hixson went 8-2, with one of the defeats being a very close 7-6 loss to Red Bank.

  As for the rest, I will admit that there is a lot to this story that is fishy, but there also appears to be a lot of confusion over the nature of hardship exemptions. Our experience is that if you have anything close to a legitimate reason for wanting your kid to transfer, an exemption is not that hard to obtain. One of our kids has attended an elementary school out of his zone for years, mainly because a) we moved back here at the beginning of a school year and did not yet have a permanent address , and b) there was an elementary school near my place of employment. That was enough to get us the initial exemption, and we've reapplied every year so that our son wouldn't have to change schools again. We have to supply our own transportation, but we've never had a problem getting the exemption.

 Also, under "No Child Left Behind" many students are offered the chance to transfer to another school if their present school fails to make AYP. We experienced this with one of our other kids. She actually attends one of the better high schools in the county, but one year it "failed" AYP in one area (the better a school performs, the harder it becomes to meet next year's goals--one can only raise the bar so far). We got a letter offering her a choice of schools she could transfer to. At least one of the choices was across town. We elected to keep her in the school she is zoned for, but the experience was eye-opening.
October 14, 2011 at 11:32 p.m.
James101 said...

Theres NO chance in Hell that Signal wins this arguement... TSSAA has been waiting to nail Signal for all the chaos they have caused the past two years... The only thing Signal has is Hot MILFS and poor sportsmanship displayed by their athletes.. The REAL mountain around the area is LOOKOUT!

October 14, 2011 at 11:35 p.m.
AlmostAmanda said...


Students on a hardship are allowed to play as long as the coaches and administration submit accurate TSSAA eligibility documentation explaining the reason for the hardship. HCDE grants hardships for a variety of reasons. For example, I've worked with several teachers who have received hardships for their kids so the children could attend the school where their parents taught or another school that was close by. Another student was given a hardship while his mother was undergoing cancer treatment out of town and he was temporarily living with his grandparents in our school's zone. Others have been granted hardships because of the need for special education services that were not available at their zoned school. All of these kids were allowed to play sports because they were listed as being hardship students on their eligibility forms along with the reason for the hardship. TSSAA, as is their right, reviewed the hardship and approved it, thus clearing the students to play. This is basically a means to screen for students who may have been recruited. In McClendon's case is that it appears inaccurate information was submitted to TSSAA. They were not able to review his reason for the hardship and approve or deny it. That is the issue at hand, not that he was simply a hardship student.

October 15, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.
steve_smith said...

Almost Amanda - that makes perfect sense. What I don't understand, however, is - if the TSSAA makes a determination independent from HCDE and that determination is based on a review of each and every application for hardship eligibility to ferret out recruiting, why was that determination in this instance delayed until after six games had elapsed. Are we really to stomach that the entire matter would have been different if the out of zone box on an internet form had been checked correctly? Can this entire fiasco and concomitant punishment be the result of a simple clerical error? Is that equitable? Surely that doesn't make sense to anyone. Heck, the IRS isn't even that unyielding. I read that Signal included McCLendon's correct address on the form. That doesn't look like deceptive practices to me.

For purposes of argument's sake, let's assume Signal did recruit McClendon. Why is there a system in place that allows hardship eligibility determinations to be made ad hoc? Such a system seems rife for special treatment, disparate allowances, and looking the other way when favored programs are under the microscope. Similarly, as many posts here have pointed out, it also provides a vehicle for subjective draconian persecution of disfavored programs. Such a system actually invites fraud.

Am I missing something?

October 15, 2011 at 1:08 a.m.
Bobo said...

Amen, Mr smith.

October 15, 2011 at 6:41 a.m.
LSUTiger said...

This is such bull. You cannot make me believe this was a paperwork error. He was recruited to play football and the box that was checked was intentional. Ye in the land of beamers and Benz can cry that they were targeted all you want but anyone with any common sense Knows what happened. If you do believe it I have some nice Enron stock you may be interested in. The fact is if your classless coach didn't run the score up on people they wouldn't be so quick to turn you in. Money can buy big houses, nice views and German cars but it can't buy class. " we go for it 90% of the time, that's what we do we score". Wow, I will have to remember that when I get caught doing something. Officer, I speed and drink and drive 90% of the time, that's what I do. Oh that I didn't know that sir have a good night. Come on man show some class.

October 15, 2011 at 8:48 a.m.
AlmostAmanda said...

Just to clarify: I've never served as an athletic coach, but I am a teacher in Hamilton County and have had a child play sports in middle and high school, so I do have some knowledge of TSSAA regulations and procedures, but I may not be able to address every possible issue.

From what I can tell, the decision was delayed because apparently Signal Mountain listed McClendon as in zone when they should have listed him as being on a hardship. They may have included his address, but I doubt TSSAA checks the addresses of every single player in Tennessee unless there is a reason to suspect something different. I believe there is also an issue because he trained with another team over the spring. According to what I was told by a coach at my school, that would also have made him ineligible to play for a year since he did not move directly into Signal Mountain's district or its NCLB sister school. I am not as familiar as this rule, so I can't elaborate on it.

As for the strict punishment, TSSAA is very tough - and with good reason. Imagine the number of "clerical errors" that would come up each year if they allowed that to be a viable excuse. Some would certainly be honest mistakes (as Signal Mountain's may have been), but I think anyone who has spent any time in high schools knows that there are some ethically challenged coaches and administrators out there who would take advantage. Since there is no true way to determine which errors were intentional or not, TSSAA is pretty clear that any errors in paperwork will likely result in a player being determined ineligible and any wins involving that player being vacated. It is unfortunate, but knowing a few of the coaches and administrators I've known over the years, I think such strict rules are necessary.

As for HCDE's hardship policy, I agree completely. I think it has definitely been abused. I have no idea why there aren't more clear guidelines for hardship transfers. I think that is definitely something that needs to be addressed.

October 15, 2011 at 9:28 a.m.
ldurham said...

This article has become quite the topic among coaches and teachers who follow the rules. It's hard for any of them to believe that the student just randomly texted Coach Shane Roberson, asking him to help further his education; or that this is Signal's first, or even most blatant infraction. Most find it interesting that as Coach Roberson continues his annual tour of schools in various counties, superstar athletes just so happen to show up too.

By the way, even though the Signal faithful continue to aim arrows at their critics, none have answered the easiest question of all: have any other Signal faculty members, staffers or parents gone to central office to plead a hardship transfer for an inner-city NON-athlete? That sure would make a good newspaper story. But it would have to be truth, not fiction.

October 15, 2011 at 3:28 p.m.
madtiger said...

Plain and Simple this kid has been shopping himself around to whoever is winning or whoever he feels will give him the chance to play>>>He cant learn that much in only one year and LFO is not a failing school>>>they just saw a stud and went with him

October 15, 2011 at 10 p.m.
fan said...

Tim McClendon personally has done no wrong lets all agree to that, SM did fill out the paperwork incorrectly we all agree to that, here is what everyone does not know, Tim was going to live with a coach who was going to be his guardian during the time the paperwork was being completed, I do not know why he did not stay on the mountain but Signal should have at least let governing authorities know of this change, I believe this is the issue

October 16, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
hamjam40 said...

ldurham stated that why doesn't we transfer all the gang members up to Signal to be rehabilitated and that they should go to the central office and say I want to be like Tim....... You can't make anybody do anything, only assist those willing to help themselves. We have as least 5 yellow hounds full of Howard kids coming up here every day. 98.9% of which do not play sports. Signal Mountain is a coalition of the willing, created by people who put their money where their mouth was, and built our school through private donations.....over and above what they already pay in taxes. Of course we want to attracted the cream of the crop. We are prejudiced up here..... We are prejudiced for kids willing to outwork other sports teams to win..... We are prejudiced for kids who are willing to accept academic standards higher than the state requirement.....We are prejudiced for kids who respect their parents and authority figures who place boundaries and expectations on them. We are prejudiced for kids who wear their pants pulled up, say yes sir and no sir, look you in the eye when they shake your hand, and reflect the best America has to it. Signal Mountain has done nothing any different than any other school in this county except be successful....Rell Morgan is proof positive of the transformational leadership provided here.... How this can bother people sickens me. Irregardless our success will continue and endure..... because of our culture of excellence. This is the more powerful force in the universe....embrace this ldurham and maybe you have transcend your bitterness, and anger filled attempts to breed decention.... or at least get outta the way for those who take control of their lives and pursue excellence. I wish I could put on the pads with you, I would knock your teeth out with a forearm.....I know I could cause I've done it before. I bet you wouldn't have so much to say then.

October 16, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.
hamjam40 said...

One more thing,............Due to the fact TSSAA waited to bring sanctions at the point it would do the most damage, demonstrates the malicious intent of the players behind the scenes. The TSSAA is notorious for being weak athletic association who exempts private schools from the rules, and only attacks successful people under the direction of its handlers.

October 16, 2011 at 2:23 p.m.
potcat said...

Every one on this thread knows one thing for sure and that is, SM high schools..Students, Coaches, Teachers, Principle, Tim and the Parents of SM students are a bunch of Liars. Just read the time frame and bio of Tim and Coach, and you have the FACTS. Its not about hate or envy, its about playing by the rules, just because its Signal doesn't mean you can Lie and play the-- I AM SOOO CONPASSIONATE BS. It just want fly.

October 16, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
sunnyday13 said... may find it hard to believe that there are hundreds and hundreds of stories of mentoring in EVERY high school in this county, whether out of zone kid or kid in your own community. That would be the main reason most teachers and staff show up everyday, to support and encourage young people so they may have the best chance for a great future, from simply providing extra help, to making sure they have a backpack, breakfast, or the same socks the rest of the team is wearing. I've seen many situations where a mentor or teacher will pay for driving lessons or dental work out of their own pocket. TFP doesn't seem interested in putting that on the front page or any other positive comment concerning SMMHS. And yes, these things happen even in the lying cheating community of Signal Mtn. Maybe it's because potcat has discovered the truth..."SM high schools..Students, Coaches, Teachers, Principle, Tim and Parents of SM students are a bunch of Liars." darn, thought we had you all fooled, just too smart for us I guess!

October 16, 2011 at 6:41 p.m.
ldurham said...

Thanks for the info hamjam40. It was very enlightening. We now know A) Signal Mtn. welcomes all "hardship" students, as long as "we can choose the cream of the crop"; B)Signal has 5 buses full of Howard kids (hmmm...that would be about 400 students...doesn't match up with what the county says) and C) you would like to threaten me with bodily harm, because I disagree with you.

Stay classy, Signal.

By the way, did any Signal administrator bother to check with LFO on the ineligible student's credits earned from 11th grade? Even though he will reportedly "graduate with honors" from Signal, no one at LFO can remember him attending class much last year. His "mentor" rarely got him to school on time.

Hopefully, the administrators at Signal can fix that with their magic pens.

October 17, 2011 at 7:44 a.m.
Stopthemadness said...

By the time this is posted, I hope this is old news. It's sad that this is one of the top commented stories in the paper, and I feel a little bit dumber having wasted my time reading all these comments. HOWEVER, I have a personal interest in this story.

First of all, I am thankful for our right to speak freely in this country, and forums like this give people like us (those who are not in positions of power to make the decisions that affect the masses) the opportunity to have a voice. But, as I have told my students, if you speak without evidence, if you speak without compassion for the opposition, and if you speak without knowledge, you will NEVER be taken seriously. But I think I may be false in telling them these things. The real danger is that they WILL be taken seriously by people who also lack knowledge, and at that point, our freedom of expression just becomes a meaningless "old adage."

Please remember that you are talking about a student. Please remember that you are talking about a body of students. Please remember that you are talking about educators who care for these students. Please remember that we are all human beings with our biases and flaws and that NONE of us live in glass houses.

Having said that, I wish some of the teachers and administrators could get on here and correct some of the misinformation being thrown out from EVERY side, but we are professionals who work with children. We have to protect their privacy. If you want to know more about the kids in the Hamilton County schools, go volunteer in your local community. Not a single one of us is perfect, nor are our students, but we all share a common goal: we want our students to graduate from high school with the tools to succeed when they come to work with YOU.

Spending hours online arguing and mudslinging over one player's eligibility is NEVER going to help us achieve that goal...

October 17, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.
ldurham said...

In other words, as long as a story is presented without facts, but with a Signal Mountain spin, that story should go unchallenged.


October 17, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

A season later and this is still one of the biggest pieces of garbage I've ever read.

August 12, 2012 at 7:38 p.m.
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