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October 9, 2013
Tuesday morning, a directive came down from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association regarding post game handshakes.
In the release, the KHSAA did every thing besides a complete ban of the sign of sportsmanship. Advising all the member schools against the act.
Referees will now be obligated to leave the playing surface as soon as time expires. So there is no liability for events thereafter on the KHSAA.
Kentuckypreps.com consulted with multiple different outlets, to completely understand the issue.
A lawyer in Louisville looked at the directive and claims "this is nothing more than a move to avoid liability if an injury of any sort were to occur during or after a post-game handshake."
Taylor County basketball coach Richard Gatewood also sounded off on the matter. "It's crazy, I could see in a heated battle and teams getting heated but I believe it is classless to not congratulate an opponent, win or loss. It's just bad sportsmanship not to shake hands."
Gatewood continued, "Yeah sometimes the winning team, especially if it's an upset, may celebrate a little too much and it may make the losers not want to shake hands but my kids will show class and sportsmanship and give it to the other team for winning a game."
When asked if his team would continue the post-game handshake the first year coach at Taylor County responded, "Without a doubt, [in a loss] we will swallow our pride and congratulate the other team"
The head of the coaches association and Eastern Basketball head coach David Henley also took the time to speak with Kentuckypreps.com about the new directive.
Starting, "It's sad to see it go but if it's what needs to be done I support it." Also saying, "99% of teams have had no issues, but the KHSAA has to act on the 1% that does."
He was also asked whether he will shake hands after games. To that Henley responded, "I'm just going to play it by ear."
Not a bad move especially when the directive shifts all liability to coaches and their respected schools.
The directive only mentions fines being levied against member schools who have issues, but what if a kid is to get hurt or worse.
Kentuckypreps.com attempted to contact the KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett but was unable to get a hold of him for a comment and who exactly would be held financially liable if an athlete was hurt during a feud after a game.
One KHSAA football coach who asked to remain unnamed said "This is a crying shame, I understand they want to make things more safe but really they are just moving the blame from themselves in case something catastrophic were to occur."
Many were moved and upset with the directive for the reasons of sportsmanship. Though that's not what member schools and parents should fear, it's the KHSAA pulling it's hand from a fire instead of trying to extinguish it.