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TSSAA to Vote on Allowing Religious Headgear

October 23, 2020 / Athletic AdministrationVolleyball
The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) is beginning the process of potentially changing a rule that would allow student-athletes to wear religious headgear without seeking permission, according to a report from The Tennessean.

The process comes nearly a month after a Nashville high school volleyball player was not allowed to play in a match because her hijab violated the uniform code as her school had previously never asked for permission from the TSSAA for her to wear it.

tssaaAccording to the Tennessean’s report, TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said an agenda item will be on the November regional meetings as well as the Legislative Council’s December meeting that would. The agenda items would seek to allow high school student-athletes the ability to wear religious headgear without requiring permission from a state high school association.

At the moment, the rule falls under the purview of the National Federation of State High School Associations rulebook, which Tennessee and nearly every other state follows. The agenda items would look to allow the TSSAA to deviate its rules to allow it.

“Regardless of what the National Federation does, the Council will vote to put it in our bylaws going forward,” Childress said to The Tennessean.

The state’s division of the ACLU, as well as the American Muslim Advisory Council, has stepped up in support of the Nashville high school student-athlete and sent a letter to the TSSAA this week requesting for the requirement that athletes need prior approval before wearing religious headgear.

» RELATED: Nashville Volleyball Player Disqualified for Wearing Hijab

“We have Muslim girls across Tennessee playing sports and they should not need permission to freely exercise their religious rights in any setting,” said Sabina Mohyuddin, executive director of the American Muslim Advisory Council, in a press release. “Instead of upholding unnecessary barriers that discriminate against Muslims, the TSSAA should be championing all athletes’ full participation in sports, regardless of religious practice.”

To read the full story from The Tennessean on the state high school association’s potentially at altering rules, click here