On Tuesday night, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) issued a directive saying that all athletes and teams 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).” Opposition across the state and country immediately flared up, and the KHSAA received flak from every possible angle. This prompted Commissioner Julian Tacket to issue a clarification of his directive on the association’s website two days later.
The directive stated that KHSAA officials and referees will no longer have anything to do with what goes on after the final buzzer sounds. They will now immediately leave the playing field following the game, and all things that transpire afterwards are left to the coaches and administrators of the competing schools.
The KHSAA cited over two dozen post-game incidents in the past three years as justification for their new stance. This may sound like a large number, but it seems minuscule when compared to the amount of games in JCPS . Manual alone plays in over 230 games/events in the fall. There are 345 high schools in the state of Kentucky. That averages out to a .01% chance of a fight at a sporting event. In even simpler terms, that is a 1 in 10,000 chance. And don’t forget that these numbers don’t include winter sports OR spring sports, so that chance is actually much, much smaller.
DuPont Manual High School’s athletic director David Zuberer offered his opinion on the KHSAA’s statement, “I just think that KHSAA is covering their legal tracks here so that they are not liable for anything that goes wrong. We are going to continue the tradition here and let the players shake hands. It shows good sportsmanship, and to be honest we haven’t had any problems with players in the recent past. People like to point to that mascot altercation at the Male v. Manual basketball game last year, but that is completely different. As far as players go, I can’t even remember the last time that we had a fight after a game here at Manual. We’re proud of how our student athletes conduct themselves on and off the field.”
According to Zuberer, all of JCPS is on board with continuing the tradition, “At the end of the day, nothing is really going to change,” Zuberer said.