After more than two dozen physical confrontations during the past two years at high school sporting events, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) is encouraging schools not to engage in postgame handshakes.
The KHSAA issued a statement Tuesday recommending that teams in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling refrain from the simple sportsmanship gesture after games. Already this fall there have been incidents following soccer, football and volleyball games.
"It is disappointing that this action has become necessary," the statement reads, "but enough incidents have occurred both in our state and in others, that the necessity has arrived."
Handshakes are not banned, and players can engage in the postgame tradition if both teams agree to it. But if the handshakes don't go smoothly, the athletic departments will be penalized.
Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier-Journal writes that Louisville high school officials will be meeting this week to discuss alternative means of keeping the tradition of postgame sportsmanship while also complying with the KHSAA recommendation.
“People are going to think we’re being bad sports if we don’t shake hands,” John Kelsey, athletic director at Louisville Male High School, told Frakes. “Hopefully we can come up with something.”
Also as part of the directive, officials are mandated to leave the field immediately following the conclusion of the contest.