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02/19/20 – Board of Control Votes to Keep Field Hockey as a KHSAA-Sanctioned Sport

February 19, 2020 2019-2020 News Releases



The Board of Control approved a motion during Wednesday’s meeting at the KHSAA Offices for the Association to continue offering Field Hockey as a sanctioned-sport. The vote followed a planned review and evaluation of the feasibility and growth of field hockey and preliminary discussion during the Board’s January meeting.

Included in the rationale for continuing to sanction field hockey were the facts that (1) there is no negative financial impact for the Association, and (2) the sport had been played for nearly 50 years when the KHSAA first adopted it as a sanctioned championship in 2014. In addition to continuing to sanction field hockey, the motion included a visible commitment from the Association to attempt to promote and monitor growth, and regular reporting to the Board, as well as an amendment to the sanctioning policy to be drafted to allow the Board to make an exception to its required number of teams when considering grandfathering a long-standing existent sport or sport-activity.

The Board also solidified the KHSAA’s position and enforcement on the required implementation of the NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) baseball for the upcoming season. In 2017, the NFHS adopted a playing rule dealing with safety and ball manufacturing that beginning Jan. 1, 2020, all baseballs shall meet the NOCSAE standard and include the certified mark on all balls used for high school competition, regardless of level. This information has been included in annual rules clinics since, notifying coaches of the pending requirement.

Questions from umpires arose concerning how to handle games when no such approved balls are provided, and which team was responsible for providing the approved NOCSAE game balls. Rule 1-3-1 in the NFHS Rules Book details the requirement that the home team has this responsibility to provide the legal baseballs. With the safety of the participating teams being the main concern, the Board approved a recommendation that in the event approved NOCSAE balls are not provided, the contest shall not be played and will be deemed a forfeit by the home team and in compliance with Case Situation 22-13 of Bylaw 22, forfeited games are not replaceable toward a team’s 36-game limit.

The Board also conducted the first stage of an extensive review of officiating fees in relation to Kentucky’s neighboring states, identifying several sports where the fees are considerably below those in other states. Among the original sports scheduled for review in 2020-21, the fees paid to baseball and softball officials hadn’t been adjusted in eight years, and while field hockey fees are highly competitive with other states, volleyball has only been increased once, four years ago.

With that in mind, the Board directed staff to complete a comprehensive review of states of all data desired as well as all regions in Kentucky to finalize overall revisions to the entire officiating pay scale, including any phase-in periods, at the May Board meeting. The KHSAA, per the Federal Court Order of 1971, is required to set a standard varsity fee for all sports in which it licenses officials.

Following January’s Board meeting, the membership was surveyed regarding its preference as to the bracketing of the State Softball Tournament. With no overwhelming favorite, the plurality of the member schools responded (60) favored a blind draw for each eight-region sectional. After reviewing the survey results, the Board approved a recommendation for staff to conduct a blind draw for each softball semistate matchup in conjunction with the state tournament draw.

The Board also directed staff to gather input from member schools, season ticket purchasers, hoteliers, and other impacted parties regarding the future scheduling of the boys’ and girls’ state basketball tournaments, without impacting the length of the regular season, and report to the Board in May. The Board’s current long-term schedule for basketball playing dates continues only through 2020-21, and the Commissioner and the Board have determined that long-term planning dates need to be set. Finalizing these dates is critical for the many collegiate and municipal institutions that host KHSAA region and state tournaments. Following the 2020-21 season, the basketball tournaments will have been played utilizing the normal last contracted NCAA regular season playing date for two of the last four years, and those conflicts and resolutions can be referenced to make decisions for future years.

In other action Wednesday, the Board:

  • Gave first reading to a policy revision that would support an existing interpretation that the prime date policy and requirements for basketball include all regular-season games played;
  • Selected Marlon Miller (Louisville, Regions 1-8) as President-Elect for the 2020-21 academic year;
  • Reviewed preliminary results of a survey of the membership regarding the scheduling of future Dance Championships and will conduct a final review in May along with discussions regarding the future sites of both Dance and Competitive Cheer.


About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 280 member schools both public and non-public. The KHSAA awards 215 state championships to 51 teams and 164 individuals in 13 sports and 6 sport-activities, funds catastrophic insurance coverage for its more than 106,000 rostered member school student-athletes, provides coaching education and sports safety programs for more than 12,000 coaches, and licenses and facilitates the distribution of training material for over 4,000 contest officials.


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