Mike Austin (Eastern Kentucky) is one of the top philosophers of sport. In a recent blog post for Psychology Today, Austin notes that Kentucky high schools are now being advised to discontinue the practice of postgame handshakes.
As reported by the Lexington Herald Leader,
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has issued a “Commissioner’s Directive” advising schools not to hold organized post-game handshake lines because of too many fights and physical conflicts.
“While it is an obvious sign of sportsmanship and civility, many incidents have occurred … where fights and physical conflicts have broken out,” according to the Commissioner’s Directive that went to schools on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the adrenaline and effort required to participate in the sport sometimes seems to deplete the supply of judgment available to participants.”
According to the missive, more than two dozen fights in the past three years in Kentucky have broken out at post-game ceremonies. Although athletic and school officials were buzzing about the order Tuesday afternoon, Commissioner Julian Tackett downplayed the order, saying it was “much ado about nothing.”
There are no rules requiring the post-game handshake, and too many times, there hasn’t been enough supervision to stop conflicts during the ceremony. Students can still shake hands with other players voluntarily.
“You’re on notice, if you’re going to do this, you’re going to be accountable,” Tackett said.