09/04/13 – Reminder about KHSAA members playing Australian Traveling Basketball Teams
Recently, the KHSAA has received several inquiries regarding the member schools of the Association being able to play basketball teams from Australia. In the interest of a consistent answer for all member schools, this clarification is being issued regarding play in all team sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball).
KHSAA member schools are under the following restrictions for opponents in the team sports. These have not changed, and are reiterated for clarity:
- KHSAA schools may only play school teams in Kentucky that are members of the KHSAA.
- KHSAA schools may only play out of state teams in all team sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball) that are 1) members of another state association or 2) are not members of that state association because they are prohibited from joining that association by the organization structure, but are allowed to play the members of that state association; and all contests must be properly sanctioned through the NFHS.
- KHSAA schools may only play out of state teams (including foreign teams) that are controlled by a single school, and are not professional or club in nature; and all contests must be properly sanctioned through the NFHS.
The National Federation of High Schools has informed it’s members that five of the major Australian Touring Companies are club based squads rather than teams representing individual high schools. The entities the NFHS named (and expressly, KHSAA schools may not play) are:
- Horizons Sporting Events, Ltd.
- Australian Hoop Tours
- Gulliver Sport Travel
- Aussie Basketball Travelers
- Npire Basketball Tours
Each group has a variety of teams by various names that travel the country. Aussie Basketball Travelers is the most common group to visit Kentucky and are not permitted to play Kentucky schools.
Per Bylaw 22 Kentucky schools must engage in contests with member schools and promotes member school based athletics. Therefore contests against clubs are not permitted and frankly, have never been permitted. Member schools are advised to thoroughly check the foundational structure of each opponent before attempting to schedule. If you are in contact and attempting to schedule a game with an Australian team that inadvertently thought they could participate against Kentucky schools, a recent NFHS survey found that those teams are allowed to play in Iowa (with restrictions on scheduling), Maine (within numbered limits), Nebraska (exhibition only), North Carolina (no restrictions), Oklahoma (within restrictions), Oregon (within cultural exchange rules), Virginia (within restrictions), Washington (within their coaches association exception).
As such, all foreign teams are being removed from the list of eligible opponents on the official scoreboard. In this manner, member schools will be required to seek permission to add the opponents to the listing, and the staff at the Association can assist in making sure the rules are upheld. In addition, there are major concerns with the insurance coverage for the KHSAA member schools, and such insurance provided by the KHSAA is invalid if the opponent is not permitted to be played as it would represent an illegal contest.
I am sure there are those that will note that these are some type of outstanding cultural experience, there is a good will atmosphere, etc, however, all members have agreed to adhere to the rules that they themselves have adopted, regardless of any spiritual intent. KHSAA member schools are not restricted in terms of scrimmage games (at this time, although that provision is under review due to insurance concerns). The KHSAA staff has been in contact with the agents of the Aussie Travelers and made them aware of member schools inability to participate in contests with them. If you have questions feel free to contact the Association office.
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