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The leader of Kentucky’s high school sports governing board is trying to clarify the group’s position on postgame handshakes.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association came under criticism after media outlets reported that a statement released by Commissioner Julian Tackett banned postgame handshakes due to incidents of fights breaking out.

According to the Courier-Journal, Tackett says the KHSAA is not banning or in any way prohibiting the practice of teams or individual athletes shaking hands following a game. However, the sanctioning body said it would fine schools if fights or other conflicts break out after games end. The KHSAA says they would rather have the practice monitored instead of  eliminated.

Tackett admitted that his initial news release on the subject was “at best poorly worded, and at worst...incomplete.”

  The WKU Hilltoppers improved to 4-2 on the season after defeating Louisiana-Monroe 31-10 on Thursday night in Monroe, La.    

WKU senior running back Antonio Andrews rushed for 155 and a touchdown. It was Andrews' ninth rushing touchdown of the season, ranking him first in the nation. 

The Hilltoppers are now 1-1 in conference play and will return home on Tuesday, October 15th for a matchup with Louisiana-Lafayette at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. 

WKU Athletics

Just five days after a win over Navy, the WKU Hilltoppers travel to Louisiana tonight for a Thursday night matchup with the University of Louisiana-Monroe.   WKU is now 3-2 on the season.  Head coach Bobby Petrino says the team is looking to build on last week’s win.

“You know, when I watched [the video of] the Navy game of our defense and our special teams, I was impressed at how hard we played, how much we were flying around and how many bodies we got to the football on all the different plays,” said Petrino.  “If we play with that intensity and that speed, I think we’ll be fine.”

Louisiana-Monroe is 2-3 on the season. This will be WKU’s second Sun Belt Conference game of the season.  Kickoff is set for 6:30 CDT/7:30 EDT and the game is being nationally televised on ESPNU.  Click here for a full game preview.

WKU Athletics Media Relations

Bobby Petrino likes to throw the ball all over the field. Antonio Andrews runs the ball so well the coach has changed his ways with Western Kentucky for now.

Andrews ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers downed Navy 19-7 Saturday, beating the Midshipmen at their own ground game.

The senior running back outgained the nation's best rushing offense all by himself as Western Kentucky (3-2) held Navy to 107 yards, well below the 398 yards the Midshipmen averaged through the first two games. The Hilltoppers outgained Navy 417-183 in total offense and held the ball 37 minutes.

Petrino called it a great win. And yes, he says the Hilltoppers are a little different on offense.

"We're running the ball, and we had to just stick to it today and work hard at moving the sticks, work hard at working the clock when we had the lead," Petrino said. "I'd love to take a couple shots there, but that's not what we needed to do to win the game."

WKU Athletics

The WKU Hilltoppers football team is looking for its second straight win on Saturday afternoon when it plays host to Navy.

WKU head coach Bobby Petrino says the Hilltopper defense will have its hands full facing Navy's triple-option offense.

"When we looked at our schedule and saw Army and Navy on it, we started practicing for it way back in spring ball," said Petrino.

The Midshipmen comes in with a 2-0 record, WKU is 2-2 after a win over Morgan State last Saturday.

Game time is at 1 p.m. Saturday at Houchens-L.T. Smith Stadium. Click here for an expanded preview

Andrews Leads WKU to Big Win Over Morgan State

Sep 21, 2013

WKU  took its early season frustrations out on Morgan State behind 291 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns from Antonio Andrews in a 58-17 win Saturday night.

Andrews' five scores broke the WKU (2-2) record for most rushing touchdowns in a single game. Andrews wasted no time getting things started with a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against the Bears (0-4). The senior finished with 17 carries for 213 yards on the ground. True freshman quarterback Todd Porter earned his first collegiate start for the Hilltoppers and all four quarterbacks saw time on the field. In Porter's NCAA debut, he completed five of 10 passes for 76 yards and threw one interception. WKU amassed 588 yards of total offense while Morgan State tallied 317 yards. Linebacker Xavius Boyd led all defenders with 10 tackles and Andrew Jackson followed closely with nine in the Hilltoppers' victory.

Kevin Willis

After starting the season with three games away from home, the WKU football team is gearing up for its first contest at L.T. Smith Stadium.

The Hilltoppers host Morgan State this Saturday night, and hope to get back in the win column after dropping their last two games.

WKU head coach Bobby Petrino says players and staff are excited to finally play in Bowling Green.

"I'm looking forward to the routine for a home game, and what you do, and how you prepare," the first-year Hilltopper coach said. "I'm looking for a crowd that will come out with a lot of energy and excitement. It's always great to play at home. And hopefully that's something that will really help us and give us energy and help in our preparation."

This will be the first time WKU has played Morgan State, which brings an 0-3 record into Saturday's game.

WKU opened the season with a win in Nashville against Kentucky, but then lost at Tennessee and at South Alabama.

You can see WKU's season schedule here.

WKU Drops Sun Belt Opener Against South Alabama

Sep 14, 2013

Tyrell Pearson's interception return with just more than two minutes left set up a 1-yard plunge by Trey Fetner that lifted South Alabama to a 31-24 win over visiting Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams Saturday night.

The Hilltoppers (1-2, 0-1) took a 21-10 lead in the first half but could only manage a field goal in the second half - that coming on a 44-yard boot to start the fourth quarter by Garrett Schwettman after the Jaguars tied the game at 21-21.

Aleem Sunanon kicked a 37-yard field goal two minutes later to tie the score at 24-24.

Ross Matheny completed 11 of 15 passes for 193 yards to lead South Alabama (2-1, 1-0).

Brandon Doughty was 27 of 47 for 282 yards and three touchdowns to lead Western Kentucky, but he was also intercepted three times.

Hilltoppers Look To Rebound Against South Alabama

Sep 13, 2013
WKU Athletics

The Western Kentucky University football team travels to Mobile, Alabama this Saturday, hoping to get back into the win column as they begin Sun Belt Conference play.  They’ll be facing South Alabama for the first time.

After an impressive 35-26 win over Kentucky to start the season two weeks ago,  WKU stumbled in a 52-20 loss to Tennessee.  The game featured seven Hilltopper turnovers.

South Alabama is also 1-1 on the season.  The Jaguars were edged by Southern Utah in their season opener, 22-21, but then topped Tulane 41-39.

Megan Stearman

In the end, WKU's success against the SEC only went so far.

Justin Coleman and Cameron Sutton returned interceptions for touchdowns Saturday as Tennessee scored after each of Western Kentucky's five first-quarter turnovers in a 52-20 victory.

Following last week's win over Kentucky in Nashville, Hilltopper fans were primed for a second straight win over an SEC team.

That won't happen when you give the ball away like WKU did in Knoxville.

WKU Drops Parking Fees For Popular Tailgating Areas

Sep 4, 2013
WKU Athletics

It will cost less to tailgate this year at WKU football games.

The university’s athletic department has announced that several parking lots that in previous years carried a $20 parking fee, will now be free on a first-come first-serve basis. 

Those areas include McLean Hall, "The Valley", Bates Runner Hall and the Service Supply Building lawn.

WKU offers 30 tailgating areas within a half-mile of Houchens Industries- L.T. Smith Stadium. Tailgate areas open at 8 a.m. on Saturday game days The Hilltoppers’ home-opener is September 21st against the Morgan State Bears. 

WKU Athletics

An online article highlights clashes between WKU football coach Bobby Petrino and a medical trainer who was fired in the spring.

The Chronicle of Higher Education story about friction between coaches and athletic trainers singled out the relationship between Petrino and former WKU associate athletic trainer Danny Cobble. The Chronicle’s story says Petrino questioned Cobble’s medical abilities, grew impatient with return-to-play times for players, and pushed back against decisions made by physicians.

Cobble says he was fired in the spring after being at WKU since 2009. When asked by the Courier-Journal about the article, A WKU athletics spokesman said neither coach Petrino or WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart would comment.

The Chronicle story spotlighted an incident in which Cobble says a doctor ordered surgery for an unidentified WKU football player. Cobble says Petrino wanted to treat the player with a cortisone shot instead. The player eventually had surgery.

The Chronicle surveyed hundreds of athletic trainers and staff for their story. Of the 101 who responded, 53 said they felt pressure from football coaches to get players back on the field faster than the trainers felt was medically prudent.

You can read the full article from The Chronicle of Higher Education here.

Keshawn Simpson ran for a pair of 3-yard touchdowns and Antonio Andrews added his own 3-yard score as Western Kentucky beat Kentucky 35-26 Saturday night making coach Bobby Petrino a winner in his debut.

The Hilltoppers also beat their in-state rival for a second straight year, though they didn't need overtime like they did last year in this win over the Southeastern Conference program. They outgained Kentucky 487-419 in total offense and held the ball for 35 minutes.

The loss ruined Kentucky coach Mark Stoops' debut. Coordinator Neal Brown's Air Raid offense struggled against a Western Kentucky defense returning seven starters from a bowl team that went 7-6 last season in the Sun Belt Conference.

Brandon Doughty was 27 of 34 for 271 yards and a TD, numbers that would have been better except for at least four drops including a would-be touchdown.

WKU kicks off its 2013 football season Saturday night against Kentucky.

While the contest is technically a home game for WKU, it's being played at LP Field in Nashville. The game marks the debut for both WKU coach Bobby Petrino and UK head coach Mark Stoops.

Petrino says season-openers are always a major challenge for the coaching staff.

"We have to do a good job on the sidelines making sure we're coaching our guys in between series, and really understanding what Kentucky is trying to do to us, and making sure our players stay into it mentally," said Petrino.

Petrino has 75 career wins as a head coach, and his teams have made seven bowl appearances. The UK game marks Petrino's return to coaching following his 2012 firing as head coach of Arkansas. Petrino was let go by the SEC school after he lied to Arkansas officials about a motorcycle accident involving his mistress.

Kevin Willis

The leader of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association says he’s pleased with the job WKU has done in hosting the state football finals. That might quiet any talk about the finals moving from Bowling Green to Louisville.

WKU has hosted the state high school football finals since 2009, and is under contract to remain host through 2014. Before that, the city of Louisville hosted the events stretching back to 1979.

In a text message to a Courier-Journal sports reporter, KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett said his group is happy with Bowling Green as the location for the football finals, saying WKU’s L.T. Smith Stadium gives fans and player a more intimate setting than the larger Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. Tackett says WKU “appears to maximize all desired factors.”

The U of L Cardinals’ upcoming move to a new athletic conference means the team won’t be playing at home the first weekend in December, the weekend the high school football finals are traditionally held. Because of that availability, some have speculated the KHSAA might consider moving the high school finals back to Louisville.

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