Outrage after Director Promises to Fine Coaches Up to $1,000 for Allowing Post-Game Handshakes
FRANKFORT – Following a statewide uproar against a directive from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) warning schools not to allow organized post-game handshakes after sporting events, State Representative Steve Riggs (D-Louisville) announced on Wednesday he will file legislation stripping the authority of the governing body to creating fines of this nature. The KHSAA's Director, Julian Tackett, recently told the Louisville Courier-Journal that school officials and coaches who fail to observe the directive could fined up to $1,000
"Promoting sportsmanship is a coach's job and they should not have to be looking over their shoulder when they encourage young student athletes to be gracious winners and losers," said Riggs, Chairman of the House Local Government Committee. "Not only do I believe the KHSSA was wrong in pushing this directive and threatening school officials and coaches with fines, I am not convinced they had the authority to do that in the first place. When the General Assembly created the KHSSA, it did so to help foster pride, athletics and school spirit in Kentucky – not to create a government agency out creating fines out of thin air. My legislation is going to reiterate and clarify this fact and hopefully remind the KHSSA to focus on its mission of high school athletics."
Riggs' bill will remove the authority of the KHSAA to create fines coaches, trainers, team officials or volunteers for not only allowing student athletes to shake hands before or after sporting events, but also for creating fines for any other behaviors of this nature. While the KHSSA will still be able to regulate high school athletics in Kentucky any find collected or administered by the organization will first have to originate in the Kentucky General Assembly.
Riggs plans of pre-filing his legislation shortly and shuttling the bill through the legislative process during the 2014 General Assembly.