Wednesday, October 09, 2013

KHSAA's Tackett blames the "erroneous" media for his own "at best a poorly worded and at worst...incomplete, notice"


"It is directed that teams and individuals do not participate 

in organized post game handshake lines/ceremonies..."

---the original statement from Julian Tackett

Read more here:

This from CBS Sports:

Kentucky high schools put an end to postgame handshakes

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association issued a strange, seemingly counter-productive directive Tuesday: No more postgame handshakes.

The Seal of the Great State of Kentucky
Citing more than 20 fights and other altercations over the past three years, the KHSAA has banned handshakes after games and meets in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling.

“It is disappointing that this action has become necessary, but enough incidents have occurred both in our state and in others that the necessity has arrived,” the KHSAA said in a statement.

There is a bit of a loophole, though it requires everyone acting appropriately after games. If teams decide to shake hands and there are no altercations, no action will be taken.

If there is an altercation, however, the schools' athletic departments will be penalized.

Beyond that, any officials involved in "postgame activities" will be penalized.

So there you have it, kids: Play hard, play fair, and don't dignify your opponents with respect after competing.
According to the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal, Several schools are meeting Thursday to try to find a resolution that would both honor the mandate and allow for postgame handshakes.

“People are going to think we're being bad sports if we don't shake hands,” a Louisville high school's athletic director told the paper. “Hopefully we can come up with something.”

This from Julian Tackett, Commissioner, KHSAA:

10/08/13 – Commissioner’s Directive on Postgame Activity

For those that may choose to read only the first few lines, it is worth reiteration. THERE IS NO BAN OR PROHIBITION ON POSTGAME HANDSHAKES. Has not been considered, contemplated or reviewed as an option.

Several sports have “traditions” regarding postgame handshakes, etc. by team members (both en masse and as individuals), but none of them have such action dictated by playing rules. While it is an obvious sign of sportsmanship and civility, many incidents have occurred both in Kentucky (more than two dozen in the last three years in Kentucky alone) and throughout the country, where fights and physical conflicts have broken out during these postgame handshakes. And this is not restricted to specific sports. In our state alone, incidents in soccer, football and volleyball have occurred this fall.

Unfortunately, the adrenaline and effort required to participate in the sport sometimes seems to deplete the supply of judgement available to participants. And this can be particularly problematic when there is a lack of an appropriate level of adult supervision, or counterproductive actions by the adults involved with the team. After consultation with the Board of Control at its last meeting, the Commissioner is issuing the following directives to officials and recommendations to the schools and officials regarding post game in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling:
  • 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. 
  • 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;
  • Game management and the administration of the participating team(s) are solely responsible for what happens after the contest is concluded.
  • Certain interaction is required by the NFHS playing rules (i.e. the awarding of a bout winner in wrestling). Other postgame rituals such as handshakes, etc. must be closely monitored by school officials and are not a part of the game regulated by game officials.  However, any unsportsmanlike conduct occurring during this time will subject the coach/player to penalties and discipline; and
  • The coaches and administration of the teams are always 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.

It is disappointing that this action has become necessary, but enough incidents have occurred both in our state and in others, that the necessity has arrived.


“It is regrettable that a few key individuals apparently have chosen to read small participles of the note above, versus the entirety of the directive and reminder, so I feel the necessity to add specific comments. And admittedly, two totally related paragraphs were not immediately adjacent and that may have caused some people to stop reading at one point, and then not follow through with the rest of the post.

Nothing about this situation is etched in stone as far as post game procedures. As the document states, the schools continue to have the option to have postgame handshakes as always, provided they are properly supervised. That was the first part of two main intentions. The first, was to reinforce the requirement for supervision. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, all involved in contests seem to be more aggressive immediately after the contests are concluded and winning with honor and dignity (and losing the same way) doesn’t seem to be being instilled across the board. Sometimes, these attitudes and lack of supervision have resulted in fights/altercations/incidents during postgame periods. In Kentucky alone, this has happened more than two dozen times in the last three years. So the directive to the member schools is simple. 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.
Secondly, and just as critical, don’t expect the officials to police this time period. That has NEVER been the officials’ job at the high school level, and shouldn’t be now. 

It’s really that simple. Sportsmanship and civility remain hallmark values. 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.”

And this:

10/09/13 – Commissioner Issues Clarification about Postgame Activity, Corrections to Erroneous Media and Social Media Reports

First, for those who may choose to read no further, there has never been a ban or prohibition on postgame handshakes or other types of good sporting behavior by the KHSAA, its Commissioner or its Board of Control. Nor has such a ban been proposed. There is no ban or prohibition on such activity today or contemplated for the future.

This message has been composed entirely by the Commissioner of the KHSAA. I do not want any room for misinterpretation or anyone else being accused of being involved. As the Commissioner, I take very seriously my role to ensure clear, concise and accurate communication regarding the expectations for our membership, participants, coaches, officials and all involved.

However, yesterday (10/8), at best a poorly worded and at worst, an incomplete, notice was sent from me to the member schools regarding postgame activity. Regardless of the number of people who had written pieces or segments, discussed the situation in meetings, or otherwise reviewed, it was my responsibility to ensure clarity.  In haste to get the information out, the normal expected quality control steps were not executed to ensure such clarity. For that, I apologize to our member schools. The complete (and hopefully clarified) notice is at

The KHSAA has a plethora of rules, regulations, policies, directives, recommendations and other standards by which contests and eligibility are determined. In an effort to create a different category, not a rule, not a policy, but more than a recommendation or suggestion, we chose to use the word directive, which has many meanings, one of which is to be a synonym for prescription (as in: recommendation from authority). In the end, that decision was the beginning of a series of opportunities for misunderstanding and misinterpretation. In addition, two very closely related parts of the original statement were not pieced together: the directive/prescription/suggestion, and the opportunity to continue if supervised; and therefore many people who read the first part, but didn’t read the second, drew an erroneous conclusion.

The intent and spirit of the directive/prescription/recommendation was two-fold and remains in place today. First, if schools desire to perform postgame rituals such as handshake lines, etc., they must be able to monitor the activity closely. If they do not have adequate personnel to properly monitor, then they shouldn’t allow the activity. The fact is that over the last several years, we have had more than two dozen situations occur where incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct have occurred during these postgame activities. Many of these lacked proper supervision, and determining the cause/effect/proper individuals to sanction would devolve into a “he said, she said” situation. If these postgame ceremonies are going to continue, then the schools must be able to monitor what is going on, as they will be held accountable for student and coach conduct going forward.

Secondly, there is a misconception in some circles that the officials are somehow responsible for monitoring what happens postgame. Nothing could be further from the truth. The duties of those independent contractors needs to end as soon as their rule book jurisdiction ends, and that jurisdiction ending should not be extended by their participation in these ceremonies, or an expectation that they monitor these activities.

But another factor was at work here and represents a lesson for even the most veteran of administrators. Almost as soon as the information was released, misinterpretations (particularly a lack of understanding of the intended use of the word directive) were made by key media outlets and veteran users of social media. Somehow, the word “ban” or “prohibition” was interpreted to be included. In the normal sprint to be the first to break news, some of these erroneous conclusions became “viral” through social media. These inaccurate conclusions spread very quickly through social media and I am certain we will never know the full penetration of this inaccurate information.
However, in the interest of clarity, I have chosen to issue this statement and have it distributed through as many channels as possible. The full text of the information regarding postgame activity is at and has been revised for clarity from its original form to attempt to prevent any misunderstanding.

It is critical that all involved with interscholastic athletics continue to emphasize and teach sporting behavior, as is reiterated as part of our strategic plan that states, “Sportsmanship – following the rules of the game, respecting the judgment of referees and officials, treating opponents with respect, respect for one’s opponent and graciousness in winning or losing.” It is also just as paramount that we do all we can to provide a safe playing environment during the pregame, the contest itself and the postgame, and proper supervision is a key element.

I appreciate each of you taking the time to read this information, and appreciate the passion with which everyone, players, coaches, administrators, officials and all others involved approach their involvement with school-based athletics, the purest form of competition..

Julian Tackett, Commissioner, KHSAA

This from the Herald-Leader:

KHSAA director apologizes for lack of clarity 

in recommendation to stop post-game handshakes

On day two of a statewide fuss over post-game handshakes, the director of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association tried to further tamp down the furor, but not before the issue hit the national news and lawmakers started calling for action.

Meanwhile, the state's two largest school districts said they were sticking with the handshake tradition, and another reversed its reversal.

"We were very reluctant yesterday because we felt it was a directive and we had no choice, but now that it's been cleared up, we're going back to the traditional handshake," said Rick Ross, superintendent of Mason County Schools.

On Wednesday, KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett sent out another clarification of Tuesday's directive, which he is now calling a recommendation, to avoid post-game handshake ceremonies because of past fights between teams.

"It was my responsibility to ensure clarity," Tackett wrote in a blog post Wednesday. "In haste to get the information out, the normal expected quality control steps were not executed to ensure such clarity. For that, I apologize to our member schools." ...


Anonymous said...

Just another example of an organization trying to over regulate but not take responsiblity. These folks have overextended the intent of the KHSAA creation which was suppose to be based on game standardization and player safety. Now they are santioning sports and activities which schools can't begin to accomidate like bass fishing. Where am I suppose to get the resources for this, ensure title IX regulations are enforced and pay the insurance for this enormous liability. What next, turkey hunting? Skydiving?

Bottom line is they want to extricate their officials from the scene the second the game is over. So if the officials have left the field of play and the game is over, what is the basis of KHSAA having any control, much less power to discipline students on my school grounds? If they do have that jurisdiction and authority, then I want the commissioners to start coming down and doing lunch duty and bus duty for me.

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't endorse any sort of violence by students but 20 "altercations" in 3 years? I am figuring these sports over three years probably account for about 30,000 competitions across the state during that time frame. That gives you a frequency rate of about .0006.

Wonder how many times parents have been removed from games due to disruptive behavior? Maybe we should also stop having spectators at the competitions as I am thinking I have had to remove a lot more parents and deal disruptive behavior from them over the years than I have had to address problems during end of game handshakes. Better yet, should we just stop having high school althetics completely as I am sure we have certainly had more than 20 latercations between players during games.

Typical over-reaction that results in liabilities fears trumping ideals and purpose of the activity.

I have almost come to the conclusion that adults just need to be kept as far away from kids playing as possible, as by-in-large they usualy detract from the activity more than they contribute.

KY Teacher said...

Just another example of why sports don't belong in the schools, and certainly another example of why why taxpayers shouldn't be forced to subsidize them.

Anonymous said...

It is pathetic that instead of owning the mistake on this one, the Commissioner keeps trying to deflect...

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10/11 11:15

Commissioner just keeps digging himself a hole each time he tries to explain it to us. Now he seems to be saying that handshakes are ok but his officials aren't going to be responsible for monitoring or participating and game supervisor (school administrator) is responsible, but if something does happen KHSAA has the power to administer sanctions?

Makes no sense what so ever. First, as the game administrator, I am already responsible for everything that goes on from game prep to turning off the lights once the last person leaves the field. Nothing new here. Just not sure how he thinks he can impose sanctions when his own officals aren't there to oversee handshaking. As is typical of KHSAA, I imagine that this will end up leading to another report I will be forced to complete.

Guy just needs to man up and say KHSAA didn't think this out well and we blew this call.

Anonymous said...

Tackett and crew haven't just bred confusion but have placed Kentucky high school athletics in a very negative light in the national conversation. Sports and national news sources publicizing that KY players are either too unsportsman like to shake hands or else their oversight organization doesn't want to take responsibility for ensuring sportsman like conduct. Another black eye for KY due to poor thinking/communication on the part of our leaders.