As the state of Kentucky begins to look towards reopening the economy, the Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) released new guidelines for student athletes and schools on Friday that lighten the previous “Dead Period” rules that had drawn criticism from some for being too strict. The new regulations will be in place until the end of May.

Some of the biggest complaints came from golf pros and golf tournament organizers from across the state who were preparing for this year’s annual summer golf season. Under the Dead Period rules, KHSAA commissioner Jullian Tackett told the J-E last week that if any high school golfer entered a competition, it could result in a loss of eligibility to play high school sports next school year, despite the fact that golf courses and tournaments were not shut down by Governor Andy Beshear.

A number of those golf pros contact the J-E following our story last week, and although they chose not to go on record, they all agreed the KHSAA Dead Period rules did more to harm high school golfers than to help them.

Those rules also covered travel softball and baseball players, which are normally preparing to gear up for the summer season at this time of the year. Despite the fact that many states have not been hit as hard by COVID-19 as Kentucky (some never hit 100 cases, and many never hit 1,000 cases), the Dead Period rule banned athletes from traveling outside the state to play ball this summer. A violation of that rule, according to Tackett, meant a loss of eligibility next year.

The KHSAA’s most recent ruling, however, does away with the sweeping ban on all athletic activity and replaces it with a list of guidelines and changes that should allow athletes to play ball this summer, in some shape or form.

Among the biggest changes is the removal of language that banned student athletes from participating “in any sport or sport-activity in any format at any location in any state.”

Students are allowed to participate in any athletic activity, as long as it is permitted by local authorities and adhere to state, federal and CDC regulations.

KHSAA also seemingly removed the ban on private in-person instruction, but then categorizes athletic instructors as “non-essential, forward-facing enterprises.” It then goes on to say that according to the governor’s office, ‘private instruction at an individual’s home or at a facility is prohibited.’”

A ban on any school related sports activity continues, including coaching instruction or try-outs, as does the ban on the use of any school property and equipment for sports related activity.

The rules also states that “Students may not receive in-person coaching or training from school personnel (either salaried or non-salaried) in any KHSAA sanctioned sport or sport-activity.”

The new rules also state that the Governor’s office has said there will be no athletics permitted in the state until at least July 1.

The new KHSAA guidelines went into effect Friday, May 1, and are scheduled to remain in place at least through the end of May. The KHSAA’s release, however, says that these rules can be extended or as state, federal and CDC regulations and directives change.

Reach MATT HUGHES

at 270-667-2068 or

matt@journalenterprise.com