Fishing of any type, including bass fishing, has long been considered a sporting activity, but beginning this year, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association is allowing high schools in the state to adopt bass fishing as a competitive sport for males and females.
For the first time, the KHSAA will sponsor both regional and state competitions for high schools who have bass fishing teams and Clinton County High School may become one of those schools.
With the location between Dale Hollow and Lake Cumberland, it would only be natural that CCHS would offer the sport if enough things come together to form a bass fishing team, and, it seems that student interest is high.
During the regular meeting of the Clinton County Board of Education earlier this month, CCHS Principal Sheldon Harlan and Athletic Director Mike Beard explained to Superintendent Charlotte Bernard and members of the board about what it would take to implement bass fishing as a sport, referring primarily to a long list of frequently asked questions and answers supplied recently by the KHSAA about the sport.
Beard said a poll at the high school showed that over 70 students showed an interest in participating in the sport, if offered, and noted that even if just half of that number actually entered the team, it would be a high number.
Both Beard and Harlan also noted that bass fishing would be an option for some students who currently aren’t involved in any other organized sport at CCHS.
Beard noted his primary concern was the local interest and whether or not enough people in the community would furnish boats for students to participate in the sport and that is something school officials are apparently gauging at the current time.
Harlan and Beard addressed the board to basically explain the duties of a bass fishing coach but presented the board with the information that had been supplied about the sport from the KHSAA. Even that list will be updated as the new sport gets underway across the state.
Such questions as liability insurance, costs associated with the sport and other issues were discussed and is all detailed in the Q and A information supplied by the athletic association.
Both school officials also noted that although the actual described season would only be for a few weeks in the spring, primarily during the month of April, bass fishing teams at all the participating schools could compete in tournaments at any time throughout the school year.
To supply detailed information about the new sport, the following is the primary list of most frequently asked questions–and the answers–from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
* Is the KHSAA now sponsoring a Bass Fishing championship?
Yes, in 2012-13, competition will be held in a single division, with appropriate assignments to regions once participation numbers are determined.
* With the KHSAA now sponsoring a Bass Fishing championship, does that make Bass Fishing exactly the same as all other sports and activities within the school?
The management of individual teams within a school is a local decision. School administrators will decide about issues such as compensation, travel allowances and other benefits in compliance with federal, state and locally adopted policies. Nothing about the KHSAA adding this sport activity makes anything “automatic” within a school or school district.
* How is Bass Fishing going to be managed within the KHSAA?
The Commission will appoint an Assistant Commissioner to be the day-to-day liaison for Bass Fishing within the office. An Advisory Committee will also be appointed to help with the implementation and management of the championship.
* Where will all the rules be printed about the Bass Fishing championship?
Each August, the KHSAA produces its handbook, which includes Tournament Rules for all sports and sporting activities. When finalized, these rules will be published in the handbook, placed on the KHSAA website, and distributed to the member schools.
* How does a school get a boat?
Any volunteer your school administration finds acceptable may provide a boat. Each school will simply be responsible for ensuring there is a boat provided, with an adult driver. The boat owner shall provide proof of liability insurance or verification that the owner’s homeowners insurance has provisions for boat coverage.
Additionally, The Bass Federation has numerous clubs across the state that have offered their services to the schools as have individuals from the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation. A list of these clubs and organizations as well as contact information will be posted on the KHSAA web site.
* Are there requirements for students?
Each student must possess a currently valid Kentucky fishing license and become a member of the Student Angler Federation. The fee is $25 and includes all necessary liability insurance.
* What about insurance for fishing?
Membership in the Student Angler Federation provides insurance coverage for all team activities throughout the membership term.
* Are there restrictions on the use of motor(s) or the speed of the boat?
No student will be allowed to operate the outboard motor of the boat. Either a student or the coach (or other permitted person if it is the boat owner) may operate the trolling motor. The boat must observe all posted state and local speed restrictions. If no such restrictions are in place, the speed limit shall be 35 miles per hour.
* What are the restrictions on actions by coaches during the competition?
The captain/coach of the boat may make suggestions but may not fish in any respect, including tying lures, netting fish, and handling fish or gear.
* What happens to the fish after competition?
The total weight for each of the five (5) fish limited to that boat will count for the team total of that tournament. All fish will be released immediately after weigh-in. Dead fish will have a 1/2 pound deduction and cannot count as the large fish for that boat.
* When is the first date of practice?
The first official date of practice for Bass Fishing will be 21 days prior to the regional competition for each school. This is solely to define a period for catastrophic insurance. There will not be a designated season for Bass Fishing. Team members and coaches may compete in other fishing tournaments throughout the year.
* What is the maximum number of Bass Fishing competitions?
There will be no maximum number of competitions as this sport will not have a specifically defined season due to constantly changing availability of fish in Kentucky’s lakes, rivers and streams.
* When does the Bass Fishing season end?
The defined season ends for Bass Fishing with the State Championship. Team members and coaches may compete in other fishing competitions throughout the year.
* Will there be a limit on team size for Bass Fishing?
No. There are not team size limits in any KHSAA sport or sport activity. However, individual competitions will likely limit the number of competitors in a given division or within a defined competition area.
* Coaches requirements: All coaches must meet KHSAA Minimum Coaching Requirements including coach education requirements, Sports Safety and Concussion, KHSAA/NFHS Rules Clinic. This includes faculty and non-faculty coaches and any other individual involved in Bass Fishing–specific training and these individuals must be listed on the KHSAA Coaching Registry.
* Who will assign the judges for Region/State?
Judges/Officials will be assigned by the KHSAA.
* Who will train judges?
Judges will be trained by the KHSAA with the assistance of appropriate outside authorities.
* When will KHSAA Region Bass Fishing Competition be held?
Region competitions will be held during April of each year.
* What is the entry fee for region competition?
There is no entry fee to participate in the KHSAA competition.
* How will funds be divided from Region Competitions?
If there are any surplus funds from receipts at region competitions, funds from receipts shall be divided based upon agreement of the schools in the region. Should a written policy not be in place, they shall be divided evenly following expenses.
* What are the competition divisions for the Bass Fishing championships?
All competition will be in one division.
* Are there other safety requirements specifically for region and state competition?
All participants and boat drivers must wear a coast guard approved life jacket the entire time they are on the water. Protective eye wear is mandated for all participants in the boat, including the driver. All boats must go through a safety check prior to start of the tournament.
* Can a school enter multiple teams in the region competition?
* What and who comprise a boat for the competition?
The two competing students and a coach meeting the qualification and designated by the member school comprise the boat for the tournament.
* When is the 2013 KHSAA State Bass Fishing Competition?
The State Competition will be held during the period of April 25 to April 28, hosted by Murray State University and held at Land Between the Lakes.
* Who advances to State Competition?
Qualification standards for the state tournament will be developed in the coming months and detailed on the KHSAA web site.
* Withdrawal from the State Competition.
Any school that participates in the region competition and then withdraws from the state competition after having qualified, will be ineligible to enter the region competition for a period of not less than two years.
The Clinton County Board of Education, after hearing the presentation from principal Harlan and athletic director Beard, are now considering the prospects of initiating Bass Fishing as a sport and possibly hiring a coach if they choose to begin a program locally. A decision may be made as early as the board’s next regular meeting on October 8.