LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Jefferson County Public Schools has released a letter sent out to pricipals and athletic directors after the Kentucky High School Athletic Association issued a directive urging teams to eliminate the after game handshake.
Letter released by JCPS:
Dear Principals and Athletic Directors:
We want to thank you for your hard work and dedication to ensuring our student athletes are taught "Character First" and good sportsmanship. Through your efforts, JCPS has not experienced any major problems during handshakes following athletic contests. In light of the KHSAA statement below from the Commissioner, clarifying the previous statement on post-game handshakes, JCPS will continue to honor the tradition of shaking hands after events. Please be advised that, as game managers and school administrators, it is your responsibility to ensure these acts of sportsmanship at the end of games are closely monitored by coaches and event staff.
We all know that coaches are the key to success of this tradition, but principals and athletic directors set the tone and expectations for all athletic and extracurricular programs. Interscholastic sports are an extension of the classroom and different than other sports' programs. Teaching our students to win and lose graciously are life lessons that we hope and expect coaches to embrace. Please have conversations with all coaches today. Remind them of their responsibilities. Also, please note the following:
- Coaches, athletic directors, and principals all understand their role as educators in this process. They must teach, model and demand these traits be exhibited.
- Everyone is clear on the supervisory role they play at such events. Coaches are present and aware when these moments of potential conflict exist and they should be proactive enough to pull their team together quickly before the “handshake.” This will ensure all students are aware of the expectations.
- Consequences must be clear for students who do not meet our standard of sportsmanship. This MUST be articulated, codified and consistently enforced.
- We must continue to create the culture we want in athletics and our athletes will value what we tell them to value.
- Ask coaches to remember that very few of our students will be college and professional athletes. However, ALL of them need to be able to demonstrate character at crucial times.
Thank you in advance for your assistance and thank you for all that you do for our kids!
Kirk B. Lattimore