While excitement has engulfed the lacrosse community in Kentucky in recent with the possibility of state sanctioning on the horizon, it looks like folks will have to wait a little longer before any official decision is made.
During Friday’s the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Board of Control meeting, the board took up discussion on sanctioning. Ultimately, the board decided to push the decision whether to sanction the sport for the spring of 2022 to their next meeting – which is currently scheduled for September 16th.
Per KHSAA rules, 50 schools (17% of current members) must declare intention to participate before they will consider whether or not to sponsor the sport. Commissioner Julian Tackett stated during Friday’s meeting that there are currently 38 girls and 37 boys teams who have declared intent to play in 2022. However, Tackett also stated that the organization could make an exception to the 50-school rule if they have 50 boys and fewer than 50 girls teams submit an intent to play, due to Title IX.
Field hockey is the only KHSAA sport that has less that 50 schools due to Title IX.
It was noted during the meeting that there are some schools who are playing that haven’t yet indicated to the KHSAA that they want to manage it. Due to this, the numbers could increase and at the 50-school mark or much closer to it by the September 16th meeting.
“You can only rely on schools to accurately enter their data,” Tackett said. “I don’t think the picture you have today…is totally accurate. Especially when I’m looking around and seeing 40% turnover of ADs since last year. There are going to be a handful of people who just haven’t responded yet.”
Along with the increased level of optimism that KHSAA sanctioning could be on the horizon, multiple schools around the state have either added or elevated their lacrosse programs from club to varsity status. The most recent to so was Woodford County, which saw their Board of Education vote 5-0 on Tuesday night to elevate both boys and girls to varsity status. Walton-Verona and Great Crossing have also announced this summer that they will be adding the sport for the first time in 2022.
Earlier this summer, the KHSAA added boys and girls lacrosse to the scoreboard section on their website.
In 2019, the KHSAA Board of Control approved a recommendation to appoint a sport-specific focus group to study the sanctioning of boys and girls lacrosse in the fall of 2019 following a state-wide survey. The survey, which was the first of many survey’s around sanctioning lacrosse that provided the necessary feedback to move forward in the process, yielded 56 votes for a spring boys lacrosse championship and 54 votes for a girls championship.
Currently, high school lacrosse in Kentucky is divided into two leagues with schools in Louisville (Jefferson County) and Oldham County playing in the Kentucky Scholastic Lacrosse League while everyone else plays in the Commonwealth Lacrosse League. The majority of teams in the CLL are concentrated in the Lexington/Central Kentucky area.
If the KHSAA Board of Control does move to sanction boys and girls lacrosse in 2022 at their September 16th meeting, Kentucky would be the 24th state in the nation and sixth in the South to sanction the sport. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina all currently sanction the sport. Lacrosse was supposed to be a sanctioned sport in Tennessee starting in 2021, but the TSSAA postponed the process in March of 2020. Utah is the most recent state to sanction the sport, starting play in 2021.
You can watch the full KHSAA Board of Control meeting below. Lacrosse discussion begins around the 25:50 mark.