Fewer incidents after KHSAA handshake memo creates stir - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Fewer incidents after KHSAA handshake memo creates stir

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There have been no post-game fights or other incidents since the memo created a stir after being misinterpreted as a prohibition on handshakes, Tackett said. There have been no post-game fights or other incidents since the memo created a stir after being misinterpreted as a prohibition on handshakes, Tackett said.
The leader of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association said he would be open to legislation preventing him from banning post-game handshakes at sporting events. The leader of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association said he would be open to legislation preventing him from banning post-game handshakes at sporting events.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The leader of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association said he would be open to legislation preventing him from banning post-game handshakes at sporting events.

Commissioner Julian Tackett on Friday blamed himself for "poor wording" on a memo to member schools about handshakes that brought backlash and attention from around the world.

There have been no post-game fights or other incidents since the memo created a stir after being misinterpreted as a prohibition on handshakes, Tackett said.

"We've had more people talk about sportsmanship in the last two weeks than probably have in many years," he said. "If it took me writing a stupid memo that wasn't phrased very well to get a couple of extra coaches to talk to their kids to make sure they knew (the rules), that's OK."

State Rep. Steve Riggs, D-Louisville, said he still planned to bring forward legislation next year that would prohibit the KHSAA from banning post-game rituals or fine schools that continue to do them.

Riggs and Tackett shook hands ceremoniously during the rivalry game between Louisville Male and Louisville Manual, seeking to end the controversy.

"If someone violates the rule, that's the person who needs to be punished," Riggs said. "Not the entire school, not every other sport in the entire state of Kentucky."

Athletic Association officials never discussed a handshake ban, but wanted to make sure school administrators knew that they – and not referees – were responsible for safety after games, Tackett said.

The memo went public Oct. 8 and, within a day, the association clarified itself.

KHSAA has the ability to fine schools that don't comply, but Tackett said he'd never levied such a penalty.

During the Male-Manual game, which is the state's oldest rivalry, fans said they supported post-game handshakes.

"I think it's teaching a lot of kids to get along win or lose," said Bob Overstreet, a 1949 Male graduate cheering on his grandson, a Manual senior player. "You're going to have a lot of losses along with the wins you get in this life."

Other fans agreed that the handshake is important for young athletes.

"You should shake each other's hand for good sportsmanship – win, lose or draw," said Willie Wilson, a former Manual football player who graduated in 1974. "A football game is not the end of life. It teaches you a lot about life."

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