Thursday, February 28, 2002

House votes for Sweet 16 review

Study requested for format of tournaments

By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Even before the start of “March Madness,” basketball captured the Kentucky House's attention Wednesday.

        The chamber passed a bill calling for a review of formats for the boys' and girls' state high school basketball tournaments.

        The study would focus on the tradition of playing the semifinals and finals on the same day. The tournaments, both known as the Sweet 16, are the biggest events in Kentucky high school athletics.

        “To ask these kids to play the biggest game of their lives and not to be rested and prepared ... is not right,” said Rep. Rocky Adkins, a onetime basketball standout at Elliott County and Morehead State.

        The measure passed 97-0 and moves on to the Senate.

        A bill dealing with man's best friend didn't fare as well.

        The measure proposed raising dog licenses from $1.50 to $5, with most of the money sent back to counties for animal-control efforts. The bill was tabled amid considerable opposition.

        Mr. Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said he has attended the Sweet 16 most of his life but could never understand playing the semifinals and finals on the same day.

        That schedule means some teams play Friday night, return for the semifinal matchup the next day and then play for the championship Saturday night — three games in 24 hours, Mr. Adkins said.

        His bill would order the Kentucky High School Athletic Association to appoint a committee to review the tournaments' formats. The committee would offer recommendations prior to scheduling the 2003-2004 tournaments.

        Committee members would include coaches, superintendents, principals, athletics directors, former players and referees.

        Mr. Adkins' original bill would have blocked the KHSAA from scheduling the semifinals and finals on the same day.

        Mr. Adkins said the watered-down version calling for a study accomplished what he wanted.

        Rep. Ron Crimm, R-Louisville, wondered if stretching out the semifinals and finals over two days would make it more costly for fans accompanying their teams.

        Mr. Adkins said that would be something for the committee to review.

        A chorus of barks and meows broke out as the House considered the bill to raise the cost of dog licenses.

        The bill also would have raised a kennel license from $10 to $25, with counties keeping most of the money to help pay for animal-control efforts.

        Rep. Roger Thomas, D-Smiths Grove, said higher fees would raise an extra $400,000 for the counties.

        The bill also would require that cats and ferrets be vaccinated.

        Other bills passed by the House would:

        • Allow pharmacists disciplined for “minor violations” to seek expungement of the violations from their permanent records.The bill passed 96-0 and goes to the Senate.

        • Allow county clerks to limit the business their offices do on any Election Day. The bill advanced to the Senate on a 66-32 vote.

        • Allow candidates to get refunds of filing fees when they are later moved into new districts as a result of redistricting. The bill passed 96-0 and goes to the Senate.


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- House votes for Sweet 16 review
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