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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s athletic sanctioning body has ordered high schools not to conduct postgame handshakes in all sports following more than two dozen physical confrontations the past three years.

Tuesday’s directive from Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett posted on its web site didn’t mention specific fights or conflicts but said several fall sports have had postgame incidents. The organization says it’s “disappointing” to take such action but that it became necessary because of occurrences statewide and nationally.

KHSAA has also instructed game officials to immediately leave facilities after contests or risk being penalized. Teams can choose to ignore the order. Schools that can conduct handshakes must supervise the activity and report any incidents to KHSAA. Member schools or coaches that engage in unsportsmanlike behavior will be fined and penalized.

“It stops short of being a rule but it says that if you choose to do it, you’d better be able to manage it,” Tackett said Tuesday evening. “There’s no penalty for doing it, but If you don’t do it right, you’re going to held accountable.”

The commissioner said all sports have had problems over the years but cited a fight between volleyball players this fall as one example of what’s happening.

With the state football playoffs just around the corner and the possibility of players shaking hands after an emotionally-charged elimination game, the directive was implemented to make schools take responsibility for conduct or not performing a ritual of sportsmanship.

“If you have 75 players shaking hands,” Tackett said, “you’d better watch what’s going on.”

18 Responses to Agree or disagree: Kentucky high schools told no postgame handshakes

  • RJ says:

    Yes it is sad that some rule making body had to get involved in what can and should be managed at the local level. I think it’s time we limit what the KHSAA can do to intrude in what is essentially a local event. Next thing you know we won’t be able to cheer for the local team because the visiting team has a built in minority and it might hurt their feelings.

  • MP says:

    What a cowardly way of addressing an issue. Personally, I feel that sportsmanship is as important as the final score – may not be for that moment, but for what it instills in a person that they can positively use the rest of their life. This “rule” takes that away. I believe a better way to address the issue is to do so head on – suspend the player txt starts it for the 12 months from all sports and punish the school as well.

  • Ira says:

    At 1st I was like come on, but then I can see both sides of the argument. How many news reports have we’ve seen lately of coaches breaking up fights after games, coaches getting into tussles, etc. it seems a lot of parents have forgotten how to raise and teach along with the coaches what sportsmanship means.

  • Mark says:

    Yes, they should shake hands. The game is over. This does not deal with the problem.

  • Gene T. says:

    This just another example of how kids are being raised today. I have played almost every sport sometime in my life. I was taught to play as hard as I could, but when the game is over show sportsmanship and respect. Parents and Coach’s are responsible. Just look at last Sunday’s CJ about UL coach of Lacross. She should be fired if that article is true, but who knows if it is. There are way too many Coaches in minor to high School and beyond that will win at all cost. It is sad when kids can’t be civil because they were never taught.

  • LexJim says:

    I agree with the KHSAA on this one. Although the charade of sportsmanship is nice for all mothers to see it seems to me to be nothing more than a hangover of medals for everyone and youth soccer games. It can easily result in poor sportsmanship with all the emotions involved. I remember as if it were yesterday the riot at the 1964 Russell-Ashland Paul Blazer basketball game. (That one was between the fans and not the players.) Why we expect athletes to battle one another for an hour or more in an athletic event and then greet one another as if they are prom dates has always baffled me.

  • Carter says:

    Good Grief.
    1. From a Legislative perspective: Are we sure this didn’t come to us from Washington, DC? Is the KHSAA now holding meetings to pass rules that aren’t actually even rules too. This is ludicrous.

    2. From the perspective of an irritated old goat: You know what? I have a novel idea. Let’s say we turn back the clock as few decades and reintroduce some basic life lessons:

    a.) Rediscover that rewards should be directly proportionate to the effort
    expended, and that the reward is not always a trophy. That way we learn that sometimes what is gained from the effort alone is more reward than we realized at the time. CHARACTER

    b.) Drive home the fact that teams have rules. And that if a player can’t follow those rules, he has no place on the team, ensuring that players understand the concept that it is a “privilege” to be part of a team, not a “right”. ACCOUNTABILITY

    c.) Promote some good ole healthy competition. Understand what it means to leave it all on the field. Learn how great victory feels when snatched from the jaws of defeat and how disappointing it is to have defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. SPORTSMANSHIP

    d.) Make certain players understand that other team is their opponent, not their enemy. Because in a few years those same opponents may very well become their teammates.
    RESPECT

    e.) Teach players that sometimes loss comes along despite superior talent, size and speed so they may learn the value of “heart” and the power of “a strong will”. DETERMINATION

    f.) Make the players all meet after the game and shake hands so they may share in the depth of each other’s sacrifices. ADULTHOOD

    While I understand the KHSAA’s frustration, this is perhaps a problem more easily corrected at the source. Remove prima donna players from the equation by taking them off the field of play, impose strong punitive measures for teams that choose not to comply and allow the Coaches to take on the task of molding our future athletes. If we find the Coach’s ethics have been compromised and winning at any cost is more important than doing it correctly… send the offender packing and then hire a real Coach.

    Don’t know about anyone else, but I have been in dozens and dozens of situations with 75 players shaking hands after a ballgame with no problems at all. It wasn’t always fun, it wasn’t always glorious, but it taught a fella how to look a man in the eye… win, lose or draw.

    If we remove that lesson from “sports”, it seems the whole point is lost.

    • Kokamo Joe says:

      I agree with every thing that you have posted, and I would salute any high school that would follow through.

      High schools seem to be in the business of aping the college game. Many high schools have a coaching staff that equals in number and position that of a major college. Teams are taken to camps out of state before the season starts. In many schools coaches and in some cases even assistants do not teach. There are coaches who have taken over community little league football programs and are training kids for their high school team. In other words, I expect that there are cases where winning trumps life lessons and sportsmanship.

      Yet, there are coaches who are both winning and doing it the right way. I hear good things about Boyle County and their coaches.

  • Larry Pup says:

    I think it’s more of the liberal bs we have to endure these days. My question is, how many handshakes after a hs sporting event has led to fights? Not many as compared to the many times it has been done respectfully and with class. Much to do about nothing. I hope most schools ignore this ridiculous edict. I say leave it to the coaches and athletes to do or not do.

  • Kokamo Joe says:

    It is pretty simple. Coaches have it understood that any unsportmanship activity after the game will result in the participants being kicked off the team for the entire year. Then do it. After coaches have proven that they are men of their word, there will be no after the game incidents.

    School boards should have the guts to discipline coaches who cannot or will not discipline their players.

  • William says:

    How ironic.

    Your story “Highlights from UKs loss to South Carolina Saturday” also posted yesterday, at the end shows players shaking hands. How ironic is that?

    If KHSAA is not going to allow sportsmanship at the end of games, then they should work on why they believe the system is failing. Maybe their realignment of high school football a couple of years ago would be a start. What player. who’s inferior team is forced to play a KY powerhouse football program, feels like shaking hands after his team just got beat by 50-70 points, with a running clock, and didn’t score.

  • King Ghidora says:

    The good old days of sportsmanship were not always so good. The year before I went to high school the school I would attend got into a flat out riot. I’m talking a total melee with the fans from the stands and the entire other team being involved. It was a road game for our high school way down in the mountains at a very isolated school. The fans were incredibly obnoxious according to witnesses. They abused our players terribly. The refs weren’t much better. From what I heard it was ridiculous how they called the game for the home team. But our team still managed to almost win. That didn’t sit well with the other school at all since our school rarely won in those days (we became much better when I was there). As soon as the final horn sounded the fans poured onto the field and attacked our team. That was a big mistake for those fans. A bunch of drunk old men are no match for a highly conditioned bunch of football players who are used to taking punishment not to mention the fact they are wearing body armor and a helmet. The other team got involved too. It was a very ugly scene. When it was over there were fans and players from the other team laying all over the field plus one very obnoxious ref. Yes a guy I had known my whole life beat a ref terribly bad. He actually used his helmet to hit him. That guy never played football again obviously. He was lucky to stay out of jail. From what I understand the other school didn’t want it coming out in the press that their fans had attacked our team. So they swept things under a rug as much as possible.

    That isn’t the only time I’ve seen teams from the mountains do absolutely ridiculous stuff. When my kids were in school an opposing team from the mountains had someone shoot out the light transformer leaving the entire field in total darkness. Obviously not all mountain teams are like that but there are pockets where people really like to cause havoc. And the isolation of the communities seems to make them all stick together like glue. I remember a time when it wasn’t the least bit safe to travel to the mountains in certain areas of KY. It’s sad but true. They don’t trust outsiders because they have been burned by outsiders too many times. Plus the Scotch Irish heritage many have has a culture of total independence from the rest of the world. They moved to the mountains to get away from people hundreds of years ago and that’s the way they still like it.

    At any rate it’s just not true that sportsmanship has always been the rule. I think we’ve all seen videos of riots from the modern times. But compared to what my team went through and did those videos were nothing. It’s a thousand wonders my friend didn’t kill that ref. When you beat someone over the head with a football helmet and you hit them repeatedly you’re lucky that they don’t die.

    Bad things can happen. I’m not so sure that the no handshake rule is all bad. I know about the things that can happen. I’ve seen near riot situations myself. I’ve seen opposing cheerleaders run over and cheer in front of the wrong fans just to incite trouble. I thought there was no way we were getting out of the gym after that basketball game without having to fight our way out. My daughter was a cheerleader for the home team that night and they started looking like they were about to do the same thing when I got my daughter’s attention and pointed my finger at her. She knew I would drag her out of that gym if she did something like that.

    Sports can be very emotionally charged and there are too many teams with no sportsmanship at all. And that is not a new thing. Kids should be taught to behave but unfortunately sometimes the parents instigate the real trouble. I’ve seen that happen. I could list a lot of examples here like the guy sitting right behind me during that game the cheerleaders went to the wrong area. He was cheering for the other team shouting obscenities and threats to players and kicking me and my wife in the back repeatedly. And the guy he was sitting with was a guy I knew well because I had gone to church with him for years. We eventually got up and moved because that jerk was making us deaf screaming right in our ears deliberately. He’s just lucky I wasn’t as uncivilized as him is all I have to say.

    • TonyJ says:

      King,
      I’m sorry those things happen but I don’t see that as the NORM. It does happen and it is unfortunate but it is not the norm. I played high school football as well. I remember many games in which were heated BUT we NEVER crossed those lines. I’ve coached basketball the last 7 years and won many but lost several and have always taught my boys that if we lost, the other team deserved to be congratulated even if they thought it was unfair, or didn’t play their best,etc. or if we won I cautioned them to not gloat because the other team played their best and wanted this game just like them. Basically to RESPECT them the way they would want to be RESPECTED. I know you feel the same way. I think now things are just reported a whole lot more, especially the bad things. One thing I like about Larry is that he does report a lot of the positive sides of sports from the players, parents, coaches and fans. Thanks Larry for doing that!

  • TT says:

    What does liberal or conservative have to do with it. Nothing!
    The key here is that sportsmanship is the “key element,” the over-riding
    principle to any competition. You have to learn to control your emotions after the contest is over and learn to shake the opponents hand. That is self-discipline, that is
    life. I can’t believe that this statement was issued by the KHSAA. Why didn’t they just send out a memo to each school and say tighten up the post game activities.
    I thought it was embarrassing to hear it on ESPN this morning.

  • TT says:

    What does liberal or conservative have to do with it. Nothing!
    The key here is that sportsmanship is the “key element,” the over-riding
    principle to any competition. You have to learn to control your emotions after the contest is over and learn to shake the opponents hand. That is self-discipline, that is
    life. I can’t believe that this statement was issued by the KHSAA. Why didn’t they just send out a memo to each school and say tighten up the post game activities, (handshakes)
    I thought it was embarrassing to hear it on ESPN this morning.

  • Larry Pup says:

    TT you are right about this is not a liberal or conservative issue. I was just trying to be funny. I agee with you on your take.

  • Little Baron says:

    Many splendid comments. What a sad situation today that control-freaks & he likes can meddle with every not & tittle in today’s society – yet it embraces the most ungodly and bizarre things. Even the non-Christian countries, most of whom do not know and many who have rejected our Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, have taken a more solid stand against the unnatural acts of human beings who choose such a life-style instead of the natural bonds of man & woman as husband & wife. The Gulf countries (UAE, Kuwait & others) have now banned such from reentering their countries! Yet our dear USA has (in general) elected, endorsed, promoted & forced such anti-Christian acts as acceptable.

    Such elected and appointed officials are now using the heavy handed control atone and more local levels, since it has become so commonplace the past 5 years in DC.

    Obviously we need new “leaders” from top to bottom – National to Local – if we hope to ever see the pendulum swing back to “normal” – neither extreme Left nor extreme Right.

  • Grant says:

    Is this what its come too? I am not about to go on a rant but our society is in a full erosion funnel and getting worse. Really sad and pathetic.

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