(11-20-17) This week two Memphis East transfer basketball players were denied eligibility for the upcoming season by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA). The ruling is due to the ‘athletic coaching link‘ bylaw, which is pretty much black and white, with no gray issues apparent.


The two transfer players, Ryan Boyce (Memphis Houston) and James Wiseman (Nashville Ensworth),  both played for Memphis East Head Coach and former NBA star Penny Hardaway’s AAU team Team Penny during this past summer before transferring this fall to East.

The video below talks about an early connection between Team Penny and Boyce.

Boyce, a 6-5 wing signed with UAB last week, while the 6-11 Wiseman is a top prospect nationally according to ESPN (class of 2019) and already has an offer from Kentucky on the table.

Two comments came from school officials, the first is from East Principal Dr. Marilyn Hillard from the Commercial Appeal:

“The TSSAA Board of Control was presented with information and verification that clearly supported there is no ‘coaching link’ violation for Ryan Boyce or James Wiseman by the head coach of our boys varsity basketball team”

“(The) TSSAA did not provide an explanation or evidence to support their decision.”

The second comment came from the SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson to the Commercial Appeal:

“There are serious process concerns and the rule that the TSSAA relied on is ambiguous at best and appears to have been arbitrarily applied in a way that irreparably prejudices our students and families. I have serious concerns about the ruling and the precedent it represents.”

The ‘athletic coaching link’ might be something that other associations around the US could consider, it is one bylaw that would be hard to ‘work around’ in transfers like this.  It is one way to help separate high school athletics from the AAU summer programs that see many transfers like this take place.