Kentucky High Schools Ban Post-Game Handshakes

Kentucky High Schools Ban Post-Game Handshakes


The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) has banned post-game handshakes between players from opposing high schools. The main reason for this new rule is that 24 fights have broken out in the state of Kentucky following high school athletic contests. The KHSAA warned schools that if the rule is disobeyed, the individual schools will be held responsible for the outcomes. (check out the story here)

Author’s Perspective #1: This is a litigious society and organizations like the KHSAA have lawyers that advise them on legal concerns. There is no doubt that a lawyer told them, “If someone gets seriously injured as a result of these handshakes, the organization could be held responsible.” So, some knucklehead at the top gets scared and makes an impulsive decision that protects the organization instead of looking at the larger picture.

Author’s Perspective #2: What is the larger picture, you ask? The main reason for high school athletics is to promote competition & sportsmanship. Players and teams work hard to win their competitive matches, but whether a team wins or loses, it is important to show respect to the other team. It is through the post-game handshake that athletes learn words like grace, dignity and humility. The irony is the KHSAA is banning the very thing that is put into place to promote sportsmanship.

Author’s Perspective #3: How many handshakes do you think took place in Kentucky after high school sporting events in the past two years? 100,000? 200,000? 1,000,000? I don’t know, but it seems ridiculous to ban the entire practice due to 2 dozen fights. That is about one half of one half of one percent. We need to stop creating rules for a few bad apples and penalizing those who can handle themselves appropriately.

Author’s Perspective #4: Just a thought, but instead of banning the post-game handshake, ban the players who get in fights. The KHSAA should take a page from last week’s blog where Coach Labrum suspended his players for a lack of character. My guess is that if he were in charge in Kentucky, athletes would get the idea that fighting is not tolerated.

Your Turn Please provide your response in the area below:
1) Social Media Question:  What do you think of the KHSAA rule of banning post-game handshakes?
2) If you were in Kentucky and you were told not to take part in the post-game handshake, what would you do? Why?
3) If you were the coach of a player who fought during a post-game handshake, how would you handle it?

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  1. As a long time football player myself, I see the hand shakes as a way to get over the guess you would have had in the game. Like if I can’t get past a guard and center in football, its my personal goal to break through them and tear through their wall. After the game I tell them good game and let it go. Its just a game no need to fight about it. -Matt Ryan

  2. I agree Matt. I also think it is a way acknowledge the effort you both gave throughout the game. During the game there are so many life lessons that are learned. Shaking hands is one of those lessons.

  3. Shaking hands at the end of a game is a part of good sportsmanship and shows the character of a person. For this reason I think that the handshakes at the end of the game should not be banned, but dealt with in other ways. In my opinion, the coaches are the ones responsible here and should come up with a solution to the fighting by disciplining the players in some way or another.

  4. I disagree with KHSAA rule of banning post-game handshakes. I think in life we need to learn to have self control. By banning post game handshakes athletes do not have to demonstrate sportsmanship after a loss. If I was banned from post-game handshakes I would obey the ban because that is the choice that represents my school in a positive light. Sportsmanship can be demonstrated throughout the whole game and not just post or pregame. If a player on my team fought during a post-game handshake I would be very disappointed in them. Depending on whether they started it or just defended themselves would have a major impact on their consequences. In the case that my player initiated the fight or engaged in it past the point of self defense I would kick them off the team. I feel this is the best way of handling the situation so that my player would not make a bad image for the school. If my player was just defending themselves then I think I would have a serious chat with them. This would be their only warning and if it happened again they would be sent out the door.