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04/04/16 – Reminder about Revised OAG 15-022 Opinion and 7/8 Grade Students

April 4, 2016 Athletic Department Blog Updates

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Most school entities have been notified from a variety of sources about an important ruling that came from the Attorney General (KYAG) recently regarding KHSAA Bylaw 4 as it relates to KRS 156.070 (2)(c) (the complete text of KRS 156.070 is located at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/statutes/statute.aspx?id=39992).

The KHSAA had long opined, on advice from the KYAG’s and all parties that have served as KHSAA counsel, that member school Boards of Education and Site Based/School Based councils could not unilaterally restrict the playing of students in 7th and 8th grade on the grades nine through 12 teams or from playing on teams at both levels. The KYAG office had contended through two opinions (OAG-90-87 and OAG 92-98) that by extension, these entities represented the same prohibited groups as specified in the statute (The state board or any agency designated by the state board to manage interscholastic athletics). This prohibition was previously published in the contents of Bylaw 4 of the KHSAA (which is adopted by reference as part of 702 KAR 7:065) and its interpretations.

The KHSAA, in cooperation with the counsel from the Bullitt County Schools requested an opinion of the Attorney General regarding the ongoing validity of OAG-90-87 and OAG 92-98 in light of the desire the majority of KHSAA school districts for local control regarding extra-curricular activities and the expansion of both Board of Education policy and Site Based/School Based Decisions since those original opinions were issued.

The revised opinion set aside those older opinions of the KYAG. The complete citation is published on the KHSAA website at http://goo.gl/ovfSN1. This opinion not only sets aside the previous regulations within the KHSAA Handbook (and its interpretations) but reaffirms the concept that this decision should be made at the local level. Until such time as the requirement to allow grade 7th / 8th participation is changed within statute (KRS 156.070), or additional actions are enacted by the Attorney General or the Kentucky General Assembly, this new opinion will guide the Association. All KHSAA references and publications will be revised to reflect such change for the 2016-17 school year.

Please advise our office if you have any questions.

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