Middle school sports may fall under Ky. HS Athletic Association - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Middle school sports could fall under regulations

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KENTUCKY (FOX19) -

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 school year.

The 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 follow.

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