Task Force Concludes Work to Improve Middle School Athletics
· The Kentucky Board of Education should resume its study of middle school interscholastic athletics to determine if middle school athletics should be managed by the local school or school district, the Kentucky High School Athletics Association, a middle school athletic association similar to KHSAA, or an umbrella agency established to provide direction for non-profit organizations. · The Kentucky Board of Education or its designee should establish a permanent workgroup within the identified governing agency to provide an opportunity for nonprofit athletic groups, parents, and others to participate and provide input on the sport, athletic event, or athletes involved in interscholastic activities through local school districts. · The Kentucky Board of Education or its designee should require any nonprofit organizations sanctioned by the board to manage middle school athletics to provide documentation of financial accountability; Title IX compliance; and completion of mandatory training by all coaches, including paraprofessionals and volunteer coaches. · The Kentucky Board of Education or its designee should consider how to require any athletic event conducted by and between school-based teams through a nonprofit or non-sanctioned Kentucky High School Athletics Association event for interscholastic activity to report injuries, meet insurance requirements, determine eligibility of participation, and conduct of athletes and coaches. · The Kentucky Board of Education or its designee should require all middle school athletic teams to follow existing Kentucky High School Athletic Association rules related to physical examinations, medical coverage, heat index, and concussions. · The Kentucky Board of Education or its designee should determine limitations on the number of allowable contests during the school year in each middle school sport that could only be waived to allow for a postseason championship event. · The Kentucky Board of Education or its designee should explore options to ensure student athletes, coaches, schools, and school boards are provided adequate accident and injury insurance coverage during an athletic event or while athletes are being transported by a school vehicle to or from an athletic event. · The Kentucky Board of Education or its designee should require and track injury and incident reporting for all interscholastic sports activities. · The Kentucky Board of Education should consider adopting statewide eligibility rules to include age restrictions for all athletes and restrictions for participation on high school teams by athletes enrolled below grade nine. Eligibility rules may differ by sport. · The Kentucky Board of Education or its designee should require all middle school coaches, including paraprofessional and volunteers, to meet existing certification requirements, pass a criminal background check, and complete all training required by the Kentucky High School Athletics Association for high school coaches. The board or its designee should ensure all coaches complete these requirements.