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KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett Not Optimistic About State Basketball Tournament But “Still Might Be” Chance


Constantly receiving new information and trying to decide what decision to make about continuing play in the Girls State Basketball Tournament almost felt “suffocating” at times for Julian Tackett, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner.

Tacket and the KHSAA eventually suspended play after the fifth opening round game and postponed the start of the boys state tourney a week later. 

Tacket said during an interview on WPBK-FM in Stanford Thursday that he kept being reminded of the “vulnerability” from the coronavirus for senior citizens and that age group made up anywhere from a third to half of the crowd in Rupp Arena when he suspended play.

“At some point you have to fold your hand and go home,” Tackett said. “We had little choice at the end but to do what we did. We didn’t want to do what we did but the more information we got, it became real apparent what had to be done.”

But is there still any chance the state tournaments can be played?

Ticket refunds have been issued for both tournaments to those wanting refunds but neither event has been cancelled yet. Tackett, though, admits any decision his group might make will depend on what happens statewide about schools reopening. Schools are all now closed until at least April 20.

Tackett wouldn’t say he’s “optimistic” about playing either event but says there “still might be” an opportunity.

“What if they would give us the all clear in mid-May or mid-June. How much time would we need to put something together? Likely it would not be at Rupp Arena,” he said.

He admitted coaches have had “interesting” perspectives. Some have said they would play no matter where or when. Others have told him they had “already kind of had the funeral” for basketball season and would not be in favor of playing. 

“So right now we are still trying to take a guarded response on the basketball tournaments or even spring sports because we still just don’t know what is going to happen,” Tackett said.

Larry Vaught
Larry Vaught is a seven-time winner of the Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year award and has covered University of Kentucky sports since 1975. Larry now has a syndicated UK sports column appearing in 34 newspapers across the state as well as, and Larry also joins Mark Buerger and Anthony White on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports each week in Lexington as well as appearing each Tuesday with Tom Leach on The Leach Report.

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