Mailbag: Questions Surrounding The KHSAA Possibly Sanctioning Lacrosse

(Photo Courtesy of Fredrick Douglass Lacrosse)

Ever since the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) announced back in the fall that they would be holding a vote on whether to sanction lacrosse or not, I have been getting questions from people in and outside of Kentucky about why the KHSAA decided to take a serious look now, what would KHSAA look like, and many other pieces surrounding this whole thing. 

And while the vote passed but the KHSAA ultimately decided to take a deeper look at it before making a final decision, which is smart, I still get asked weekly about topics and issues surrounding KHSAA lacrosse. So, I decided it would be best to answer some of those questions in this form. 

Here are eight of the questions I get asked most surrounding the possibility of the KHSAA sanctioning Lacrosse.

Why do they still need to look at it if the vote passed?

So, the vote was open to all schools, as always. And because of that there were many schools that do not have either boy’s or girl’s lacrosse that voted yes. Because many schools that don’t have lacrosse voted yes the KHSAA wants to make sure that there are enough teams to not only sanction the sport, but also structure it correctly. Also, lacrosse was never going to be sanctioned in 2020 anyway, so delaying the decision to do more research isn’t hurting anything. 

When will a decision be made? 

I would expect to hear a decision next fall during their big annual meeting. So, don’t get your hopes up for an announcement anytime soon. 

Will there be any restrictions in terms of scheduling put in place because of KHSAA rules that teams don’t have to abide by now?

Not really. Kentucky does not have any major restrictions on who you can and can’t play like some states do. If a team wanted to go to California and play a game they could. The only restriction is that teams can only play teams that are members of their state’s high school athletics governing body. There will obviously be a district schedule that each team has to follow, but those are already in place in both the KSLL and CLL.

How will sanctioning help grow the game in the state?

There are some schools, especially in northern Kentucky, that have stated they will only field teams if it is sanctioned. So there could be more high school teams added, which means more opportunity for exposure. Also, sanctioning gives the sport more validity in some areas of the state. 

How will lacrosse be structured and will it be different for boys and girls? 

It won’t be different for boys and girls in terms of how it’s structured, but there are some all boys schools and all girls schools that obviously have one discipline. As far as overall structure goes, I could see them splitting it into a 1A and 2A and structuring it similar to football. That is kind of how it is now with the two leagues. Honestly, it would be a grave mistake to just have one state champion like in basketball. Lacrosse is nowhere near as far along as basketball is in numbers or competitiveness across the board. One division would likely make the sport regress across the state. But I could see them mistakingly make it one division in year one and quickly change. Lacrosse has been state sanctioned in Florida for a while now and they are just splitting into 1A and 2A this year. And they have upwards of 200 teams on both the boys and girls side. 

Like Tennessee, will there be a grace period between the decision to sanction lacrosse and when it starts to be played as a KHSAA sport? 

Yes. How long of a grace period? I’m not sure. Tennessee voted in the winter of 2018 to sanction lacrosse, but it doesn’t go into full effect until the 2021-22 school year. I would imagine Kentucky would have a similarly timed grace period to be able to structure the sport as best they can to make it be fair and succeed. 

How will KHSAA sanctioning impact the varsity club teams?

One of the big pushbacks to sanctioning lacrosse has been the fact that Kentucky has several conglomerate teams like the Bluegrass Bulldogs, Hard Knox, and others. Hopefully, if lacrosse is sanctioned some of the schools in those areas will add the sport. Also, players could play for another school nearby if their school doesn’t have enough players for a team, similar to Carroll County taking in some Trimble County football players in 2018 when their school couldn’t field a team

How many states currently sanction lacrosse?

As of now, 25 states sanction or have voted to sanction lacrosse. In the South (excluding Maryland), Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina are the only states currently playing lacrosse as a sanctioned sport. And in many states, especially on the east coast, there are more than one state association. Also, California leaves it up to each individual CIF Region to decide which sports to sanction. So if the KHSAA decides to sanction lacrosse they would be the 26th state to do so. 

Full List: 

Missouri (girls only)
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee (beginning in 2021)
Utah (beginning in 2020)

If you have any more questions surrounding the KHSAA possibly sanctioning lacrosse you can send them to

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