- Schools can choose to ignore the ban but will be penalised if altercations happen
- The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s commissioner, Julian Tackett, posted the directive on Tuesday saying it was ‘disappointing’ to take such measures
- He said it comes after more than a dozen post-game tussles have happened in the past three years
- The directive also instructs game officials to immediately leave facilities after games and contests or risk being penalised
- ‘Don’t do it, unless you can properly supervise it,’ said Tackett
PUBLISHED: 08:47 EST, 9 October 2013 | UPDATED: 09:23 EST, 9 October 2013
High school sports players in Kentucky have been banned from conducting post-game handshakes unless they are ‘properly supervised’ because of too many physical confrontations.
The state’s athletic sanctioning body, Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA), posted the directive on their website on Tuesday following more than two dozen post-game tussles in the past three years.
The body’s commissioner, Julian Tackett, did not mention specific fights or conflicts but said several sports have had post-game incidents.
No more handshakes: Kentucky sports teams have been banned from engaging in organised post-game handshaking with the opposite team due to too many fights
Do it at own risk: Schools are told they can continue doing the ritual, but that they will be penalised if fights break out
In the directive, he said: ‘Don’t do it, unless you can properly supervise it. And if you don’t supervise it, or if you do and problems occur, then you will be held accountable.’
He said all sports have had problems over the years but cited a fight between volleyball players this fall as one example.
The organisation, which also instructed game officials to immediately leave facilities after contests or risk being penalised, said it was ‘disappointing’ to take such action but that it had become necessary.
‘Henceforth, any incidents by an individual squad member (including coaches) or group of squad members that results in unsporting acts immediately following the contest will result in a penalty against the member school athletic program, and additional penalties against the individuals or schools as deemed appropriate following investigation,’ said Tackett.
Teams can choose to ignore the order, but those who do must supervise the activity and report any incidents to KHSAA.
Member schools or coaches that engage in unsportsmanlike behaviour will be fined and penalised.
‘Sportsmanship and civility remain hallmark values,’ said Tackett. ‘It is my hope that all schools can provide the proper supervision and accountability to continue these types of activities. But if they can’t, then stop doing them.’
He said there was no penalty for continuing post-game handshakes, but that ‘if you don’t do it right, you’re going to be held accountable’.
Brian Durban, varsity coach for Olden County High School Boys Soccer, told Fox News that sportsmanship was ‘the most important thing you can teach’.
The coach has devised a plan to get around the new directive: ‘If we can’t shake our hand after the game, we can shake before the game.’
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.
‘Unfortunately, for whatever reason, all involved in contests seem to be more aggressive immediately after the contests are concluded and winning with honour and dignity, and losing the same way, doesn’t seem to be being instilled across the board,’ he said.
‘If you have 75 players shaking hands,’ Tackett said, ‘you’d better watch what’s going on.’
Not everyone agrees with the directive, with some people taking to Twitter to complain.
One comment from a Twitter user, Jenny Toth, says, ‘how about suspending the fighters instead?’
Todd Robertson, another Twitter user, posted: ‘As a HS coach I cannot say how ridiculous and object more to the new @KHSAA policy is banning post game handshakes. Foolish adults