LOUISVILLE, Ky. (NBC33) -- The post-game handshake between teams has become tradition and is seen as a sign of respect and good sportsmanship, but in Kentucky, the High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) has decided to discourage schools from doing this.
The directive from the KHSAA says that there has been more than two dozen incidents in the state over the last three years, "where fights and physical conflicts have broken out during these postgame handshakes."
Some coaches, players and parents were not happy with the directive and have chosen to continue to encourage their players to participate in the tradition, according to WAVE, an NBC affiliate station.
The KHSAA is not banning the post-game handshake, but is stating that if schools want to exchange handshakes, they assume responsibility and will be held accountable for student and coach conduct in the future. The KHSAA commissioner penned a "clarification" after the directive got media and social media attention. In that notice, the commissioner states that if schools do not have adequate personnel to properly monitor post-game activity, they shouldn't allow the activity to happen.
The commissioner continues by saying that the second reason the directive was issued is that there is a misconception that officials are responsible for monitoring what happens after the game which the commissioner says is untrue.
Directives to officials and recommendations to the schools and officials regarding post-game in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, volleyball and wresting
1) Following the contests, officials are to quickly and efficiently leave the playing facility following all rules mandated duties and ensure that the rules book mandated jurisdiction ends promptly. There is no need for officials to secure the game balls, shake hands with the coaches or players, or stick around the playing area for any other reason.
2) Officials have no role in what goes on in postgame, including handshakes, etc. after jurisdiction has ended. Officials also have NO role in administering this policy. Officials choosing to involve themselves in postgame activities will be penalized appropriately;
3) Game management and the administration of the participating team(s) are solely responsible for what happens after the contest is concluded.
4) It is prescribed that teams and individuals should not participate in organized post game handshake lines/ceremonies beyond that interaction that is required by the NFHS playing rules (i.e. the awarding of a bout winner in wrestling) and the individual unorchestrated actions by individual competitors UNLESS game management and the coaches and administration of the teams accept total responsibility to supervise the activity and to report to the KHSAA any incidents that occur; and
5) The coaches and administration of the teams are responsible for the individual conduct of the members of the team following the contest and shall be held accountable for such.
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.
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