Posted June 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Middle school athletics probably to undergo some (needed) change

Word came over the weekend that action taken by the Kentucky Board of Education on Friday puts into motion a chain of events that will in all likelihood bring about some needed changes in the way our athletic programs are run at the middle school level in Kentucky.

Up to now, middle school athletics has pretty much been running unstructured across the state, with very little regulation from any higher authority and most of how things are being operated being left up to the local level – school boards and site based decision making councils, coaches and parents.

For the most part – that translated into no real control in many areas of Kentucky, and apparently things were all but out of control in some middle school programs.

Many years ago, when it first became rumored that middle school athletics were about to be taken under the wing of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, I was a part of a middle school group organized here in an effort that was being undertaken across the state to prevent that from happening.

In a nutshell, that effort was being spearheaded with hopes of leaving control of middle school athletics on the local level, and when the local meeting was over, it was pretty clear that the effort would simply be an “on paper” group that was designed to give the impression to state authorities that someone was actually in charge and looking out for the well-being of the middle school athlete.

Didn’t look to me like a good plan, and I didn’t think it would work then.

Whether or not the current attempt to put the middle school athletics under some sort of control of the KHSAA will work or not is yet to be seen, and while I’m often critical of the way KHSAA goes about things, this is something that probably needs to be done – in some shape, form or fashion.

The real problem is not really with middle school personnel, but with the parents, and the fact that there basically are no rules at that level.

KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett and myself don’t often share the same philosophy, but in an article that appeared Monday in the Lexington Herald-Leader made me do a double take in reading a quote concerning the situation that Tackett had made.

You’ve read in this very space time and time again down through the years when I’ve said that many of the problems with middle school and little league athletics doesn’t lie with the players themselves – they just want to play ball. The real problem is that every parent sincerely thinks they have raised the next Michael Jordan.

Commissioner Tackett basically said the same thing in Monday’s article written by Valerie Honeycutt Spears when he noted: “Everybody thinks their kid is the next scholarship player at Kentucky.”