The commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association tells WFPL that there is no ban on students wishing to handshakes with the opposing team after middle and high school athletics.
Media reports surfaced yesterday, following directives from Commissioner Julian Tackett saying if students want to shake hands it must be supervised by school staff or coaches.
Tackett says there have been over two dozen confrontational incidents at Kentucky athletic events over the past few years and his directives were meant to address that.
“Never, ever did anything state there was a ban on post-game handshakes,” he says.
Tackett blames the controversy partly on poor communication on his behalf, but also on media reports, adding that the past several hours have been a “cruel lesson in what social media can do now with inaccurate information.”
Tackett was referring specifically to the use of the word “ban.”
The directives do say that officials, or referees, who call the games must not be involved in any post-game activities like hand shakes. Tackett says several incidents over the past few years have gotten violent and sometimes the officials, who are independent contractors, got “overly involved.”
Student activity following matches or games have been violent in the past, he says.
“We had them punching each other in line after a volleyball match . We’ve had soccer matches where at the end of the game they get together and shake hands and a fight breaks out. We’ve had football games where things like that happen.”
Tackett says many of those reports included a lack of supervision.
The KHSAA will assess penalties on schools that don't supervise their players or where fights do break out.
Part of the directives state: “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.”
Those penalties must be assessed and applied on a case by case basis, Tackett says.