Wilson County students in virtual learning program will not be eligible to play sports

Adrien Watts
Posted at 6:57 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 21:42:24-05

WATERTOWN, Tenn. (WTVF) — In Wilson County, students who enroll in the virtual learning program for the next school year won’t be eligible to play sports at their former school.

"It’s frustrating,” Vivian Watt said, “If I was able to do full time virtual for my kids, that would be something that I would do, but unfortunately I’m not able to, one reason is because they wouldn’t be able to participate in sports."

Watts sends her children to traditional school which ensures they can play soccer and football. She said with four kids they’re just trying to survive like everybody else. "It’s definitely been tough, but we’re just trying to do what we can do," Watts said.

According to the TSSAA, if Wilson County School wanted to, the virtual school could have their own teams. Wilson County Schools spokesperson Bart Barker said they probably won't have the resources to make that happen. Barker said, "It comes down to enrollment numbers and interest."

A statement from TSSAA spokesperson Bernard Childress said:

"A Virtual School under the local Board of Education is eligible to become a TSSAA member upon request and approval by the TSSAA Board of Control. If so, those students would be eligible to participate in a cooperative program with one school designated by the Wilson County School System upon request and approval by the state office.

In accordance to the Bylaws, any student that transfers to a member school with an athletic record and no bonafide change of address is ineligible to participate on the varsity level twelve months past the last date of participation at the previous school. They would be eligible to participate on the junior varsity level until that time provided they meet the JV guidelines. Students that transfer to the Virtual school without an athletic record the past twelve months will be eligible at the varsity level immediately provided they meet all other requirements."

In addition, Barker said logistics were tough last year since some students were in-person and others were remote at home. Barker said, "And it became a scheduling nightmare."

Most students will probably want to play at the school they played for in the past, which will only happen if they go to traditional school. Watts said, "Of course the sports situation makes things more complicated because people were expecting things to be the same as last year."

Parents have to sign up their students for the virtual learning program by the end of the month for the next school year.