For the first time, middle school athletics
in Kentucky could be overseen by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
The state board of education has already approved this regulation and now, it's
up to lawmakers.
The KHSAA says that the lack of oversight in
the past has created problems at the middle school level.
The KHSAA says in recent years, too many
parents are having students repeat a grade solely for athletic reasons.
Covington Catholic football coach Dave Wirth agrees this is one problem this
proposal could address.
"If some of the middle school leagues in
the state that aren't doing the right thing have the KHSAA looking over their
shoulder maybe that will help them put their kids that are in their program in
a better, safer situation," said Wirth.
Another issue that prompted this regulation
is some schools are playing more games during a season than is considered safe.
"I don't like the idea of kids coming up
to me as 15,16,17,18 year old already run into the ground already so beat up
physically that they don't enjoy the sport," he added.
In our commitment to balanced news, middle
school coach Tom Freppon says it may be hard to enforce this limit on the
number of games actually played.
"Even if you take some charge of the
middle school and you put in some maximum game limits, there's still so much
participation outside the school through AAU and club soccer and club
volleyball that's not addressed," said Freppon.
Freppon says he believes this proposal could
provide training and safety benefits, but could be hard to enforce because
school structures differ from county to county, especially in Northern Kentucky.
"The public high schools have middle
schools that primarily feed their schools where the parochial schools have
smaller grade schools that may feed a number of different high schools," said Freppon.
If approved, the agency in charge would work
with middle schools using a different model than high schools.
It would be a 21-member committee composed of educators with expertise in middle school
athletics. The earliest this regulation could take effect would be the 2014-15
Kentucky Department of Education says a month-long public comment and hearing
will take place in July. A final review and decision on the regulation will