New TN laws increase access to school sports and college for kids in foster care

By: | August 24, 2021

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association requires students to live in a district for a year before being eligible to play a sport, a rule intended to keep powerhouse programs from recruiting unethically. Now, thanks to a new law sponsored by Harris, and signed into law in May by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, the one-year rule is waived for all students in foster care.

Harris, a Memphis Democrat, said that the one-year rule kept a lot of students in foster care from being able to play sports, and he added that the student who inspired the bill was “absolutely devastated” when he had to leave the team.

“An opportunity to do something that he loves, to continue to gain social skills — his motivation to want to be involved — and to get denied playing a sport because of the length of time he had been placed — at no fault of his own,” said Harris, “you can only imagine how damaging this could be for someone like” him.

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