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Rival Coaches Differ on KHSAA's New Handshake Policy

There is controversy in the Commonwealth and it centers around, of all things, handshakes. Following what officials admit was a 'poorly worded' notice, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association clarifies it's new policy about the postgame tradition.

There is controversy in the Commonwealth and it centers around, of all things, handshakes. Following what officials admit was a 'poorly worded' notice, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association clarifies it's new policy about the postgame tradition.

Julian Tackett, the Commissioner of the KHSAA, came out with an update this morning to Tuesday's controversial announcement. Tackett says the postgame handshake isn't banned and his initial announcement was incomplete. Tackett clarified the policy by saying instead of banning the gesture outright, the KSHAA wants coaches and school administrators to monitor the handshake lines to ensure fights don't begin. Tackett also says schools will be fined if anything arises as a result of the postgame handshake.

Even with the clarity, it's what many football coaches are still talking about.

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They play the game between the lines, but sometimes, they cross them.

To ensure a match doesn't turn into a melee, the KHSAA came off the bench with a new policy to ensure coaches and administrators that it's their responsibility to maintain order during the postgame handshake.

 That responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of coaches like Owensboro's Joe Prince and Owensboro Catholic's John Edge.

"We're still going to shake hands and it's up the opposing coach too," said Edge. "[The other coach] is going to have to decide if he should still do it."

"Everybody needs that calm down time," said Prince. "I think the KHSAA said 'look, we tried to do it this way. Theoretically, it looks like a good thing to do but in reality, maybe we need this separation time.'"

For some schools and their coaches, the postgame handshake could go by the way of the leather helmet: extinct. Officials say the state's directive doesn't ban the postgame tradition so much as it leaves it up to the coach's and school's discretion.

"You're in a different mode," said Prince. "You're supposed to have the horn go off, shake hands, and be alright? That's hard to do. From my perspective, show the sportsmanship during the game. After the game, move on. This rule doesn't bother me."

"We're going to attempt to go out there and shake hands after the game," said Edge. "It shows your kids sportsmanship. Not only that, but win or lose, it's good to have that type of sportsmanship after the game."

These two very successful coaches have differing opinions. What else do you expect from two bitter rivals?



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