Are You Off-Season Compliant?

The winter off-season is an important time for athletes to train and build a base for spring competing, but to protect athletes' best interests, the IGSHAU and IAHSAA have developed contact rules that stipulate the contact a coach is allowed to have during the off season. Are you following the contact rules and remaining in compliance, or do you have "unofficial" meeting times with your athletes? Sound off in our poll at the end of the article!

What the IGHSAU has to say about off-season contact... (via IGHSAU Contact Rule

General Principles:

  • There may be no out-of-season contact between coaches/students during the school year.
  • Summertime out-of-season contact between coaches/students is allowed, but only if the student voluntarily engages in the activity.
  • We cannot help what the colleges call their camps, but a so-called "team" camp is subject to all the same rules as any other camp attended by a secondary student.
  • NO district funds can be used for any student to pay for a student's participation, either in whole or in part, in any out-of-season camp or clinic.
      • Booster clubs that are independent of the district may offer financial assistance.
      • If a student-athlete wants to use school equipment, including school apparel (e.g., a jersey), the district must charge fair rental value.
  • When a coach employed by a school district sponsors a summertime, out-of-season camp or clinic, student-athlete participation must be voluntary and there can be no use of district funds. The camp or clinic may be operated under either of the following models:
      • The camp/clinic is NOT a district activity. (This is the model favored by the DE, IHSAA and IGHSAU.)
        •        If the district's facilities or equipment is used, the district charges the coach rent. 
        •        All accounting and bookkeeping is done apart from district funds.
      • The camp/clinic is sponsored by the district as a community service.
        • The camp/clinic is NOT considered to be either a co-curricular or extracurricular activity.
        • Therefore, any funds associated with it are not to be run through the student activity fund. If the camp/clinic is a
          regular event, use the enterprise fund; if the camp/clinic is not a regular event, use the general fund.
        • Public funds cannot be used to help students with registration fees.

Any remuneration to the district's coaches that work the camp/clinic is not part of the coach's chapter 279 contract. Have a separate contract for payment to the coaches. Again, this is because the camp/clinic is NOT a co-curricular or an extracurricular activity of the district.

What the IAHSAA has to say about the contact... (via the IAHSAA)

Can a school impose stricter guidelines on its coaches and/or students than those imposed by these rules? Yes. Stricter policies than outlined by these rules are the prerogative of the local district.
Who is covered by these rules? Students in grades 9-12 and personnel under contract to coach or who serve as volunteer coaches of a school team involving students in grades 9-12. Students and coaches in seventh and eighth grade are NOT covered by the provisions of these rules. However, local school districts may choose to extend nonschool participation rules to junior high school students.

1. Is a team meeting during the school year, outside the season legal? Each coaching staff is allowed one preseason team meeting during the school year, outside the season.
2. If a player works as an instructor at a grade school camp run by their coach during the school year, outside the season, is the coach violating the coaching contact? During the school year, outside the sport season, each student may work at a one-time, one-day clinic for elementary/middle school students run by their coach without their coach violating the coaching contact rule.
3. Can coaches officiate their athletes outside the sport season, during the school year or during the summer? Yes. Officiating does not constitute coaching contact.
4. During the school year, outside the sport season, can a coach practice or compete with or against his/her students in the sport(s) he/she coaches? No. Practicing or competing with or against students on a coach's team constitutes coaching.
5. During the softball season and after May 31, a softball player has enrolled in an off-campus basketball camp in which her basketball coach is a member of the camp staff. Can the softball player still attend the camp? Yes. The student can participate in any camp, clinic, etc. s/he chooses. However, the student's basketball coach shall not require his/her students to participate in the camp.
6. Does transportation during the school year, outside the season count as contact? No. The act of transporting students to non-school competitions, camps, clinics, etc. is permissible during the school year, outside the season as long as no coaching occurs. If school transportation is used it must be used subject to Iowa Code 285.10 (9) and (10).
7. Softball practice is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. A student is attending an on-campus camp that causes her to miss softball practice. If a potential conflict exists when an on-campus summer camp, clinic, workout, or other team activity is scheduled at the same time as a baseball or softball practice or game, the student athlete shall go to the inseason sport activity, unless released by the in-season coach. The in-season sport has priority. Local school administration shall determine how to avoid conflicts.
8. The high school football coach has a film session for a group of football players who also play baseball on a day during the summertime. Baseball practice is also scheduled at this time. Is this a violation? Coaching activities between June 1 and the first day of fall sports practices shall not conflict with sports in season. If a potential conflict exists, the student athlete shall go to the in-season sport activity. The inseason sport always has priority. Local school administration shall determine guidelines on how to avoid conflicts.
9. Can the coach of the high school basketball team coach a club or AAU volleyball team during the school year outside the volleyball season? Yes, as long as the high school basketball coach is not also serving as a high school volleyball coach (paid or volunteer) for his/her school.
10. Can the coach of the high school baseball team coach the high school softball players during the school year? Yes, as long as the high school baseball coach is not also serving as a softball coach (paid or volunteer) for that school.
11. Can the coach of a high school basketball team coach an all-star team that includes a player from his own team? Yes, as long as that player is a senior whose interscholastic athletic season for that sport has concluded.
12. Can the coach of a high school girls' or boys' team coach a junior high team or club team in that same sport during the school year, outside the season, if that team does not include any of his/her high school student-athletes? Yes, the coaching contact rule is specific to 9-12 coaches and their 9-12 student-athletes. 13. During the school year, outside the season, can the coach of the high school girls swim team coach the youth girls swim club program practice (all students under the 9th grade) at the same time the high school girls' club program is practicing? The youth program practices in lanes 1-3 and the high school girls are practicing in lanes 4-6. No. This is a violation of the coaching contact rule and would apply to all sports where the same facility is being used at the same time for students in grades below the 9th grade and 9th grade and above.
14. During the summer can an out-of-season high school coach require attendance at any workouts, camps, clinics, or other activities? No, attendance at any out-of-season activities must be totally voluntary and cannot be required. Coaches cannot punish or reward student-athletes based on attendance at any out-of-season activities.
15. May a high school coach of an out-of-season sport require a player to attend an out-of-season camp in that sport during the school year? No. A high school coach may not require his/her students to attend a camp outside the high school season at any time.
16. During the school year outside the season, can a coach of a high school team coach his/her student athletes in a sport in which he/she is under contract (paid or volunteer) with the school district? No, during the school year outside the sport season, coaching contact is illegal. However, a coach may supervise a workout or open facility with approval of the local school administration. This is for supervision purposes only and no coaching can occur.

Does your team meet during the off-season?
Yes, but coaches are not there.
Yes, and coaches are present.
No, we do not meet.
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