State to Aggressively Pursue Major Sporting Events
FRANKFORT, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced sweeping new initiatives that will have a significant impact on the sports culture and climate in Kentucky.
In a media conference in the Frankfort Civic and Convention Center, Governor Fletcher announced the creation of the Kentucky Sports Authority (KSA) to attract major national and international sporting events, conventions, and franchises to the Commonwealth.
In addition, the Governor announced that a five-member Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority (KBWA) has been established to replace the former Kentucky Athletics Commission. The new group will have “a more focused vision on establishing a regulatory environment necessary to attract world-class professional boxing and wrestling events to Kentucky” and to protect the athletes, Governor Fletcher said in an executive order.
“Kentucky has a proud boxing heritage and four native sons -- Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Ellis, Greg Page, and Marvin Hart -- who were world boxing heavyweight champions, and it is time we took advantage of that heritage and promote the Commonwealth as the venue for top boxing events,” Governor Fletcher stated.
In addition to promoting boxing in the state, Governor Fletcher said Kentucky has the means to be a mecca for major amateur and professional sporting events, conventions, franchises, and organization headquarters.
“From NCAA basketball championships, the PGA Golf Championship at Valhalla, the Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs, the Rolex Three-Day Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park, NASCAR events at the Kentucky Speedway and the X-Game events at Extreme Park in Louisville, our state has proven it can be the right venue for hosting world-class sporting events,” said Governor Fletcher.
Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence will serve as the KSA Chairman. Other members of the KSA will be Secretary Jim Host of the Commerce Cabinet, Secretary LaJuana S. Wilcher of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, Wayne Martin, Charlie Martin, Myra Blackwelder, Dr. George Ginter, Kathy DeBoer, Louis Stout, Joseph Terry, Jerry Carroll, Larry Bisig, Donna Smith, and Wade Houston. One position remains to be filled.
KSA will be placed in the Commerce Cabinet so it can join with the departments of Parks and Tourism in efforts to attract major national and international sporting events, amateur and professional. Governor Fletcher already has taken a leadership role in the effort to attract the 2010 World Equine Championships to the Kentucky Horse Park. In addition, the 2008 Ryder Cup has been scheduled for Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.
The members of the Boxing and Wrestling Authority are Secretary Wilcher; Dr. Ginter, Joe Carr, Bud Schardein, and Tom Baxter.
The KBWA replaces the previous, seven-member athletic commission, which was responsible for professional boxing or wrestling matches and exhibitions within the Commonwealth. The old commission licensed boxers, wrestlers, referees, managers and promoters.
The KBWA is to be part of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC), attached to the Department of Public Protection. EPPC Secretary LaJuana S. Wilcher would be among the authority’s five members. At least one member is to be a medical doctor, and at least one other member is to be someone with no financial interest in the business or industry being regulated, the executive order stated.
Governor Fletcher in July announced his intention to reorganize the athletic commission as he had done earlier to the Kentucky Racing Commission. He abolished the racing commission to create the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, which has a dual mission of racing regulation and promotion.