When it comes to winter running, it appears coaches are not allowed to have any contact until track season starts. Does this include a voluntary, anyone who wants, “running club”? I’ve heard of those at a few schools, but want to be compliant and fair within the rules. Athletes can do a running club, but coaches cannot be there or involved in any way? Not talking writing training like they would see in college, but just running with them for fun.
This is the very reason as to why the WIAA needs to clarify their rules. My answer is that we are allowed to recreate with the athletes on a voluntary basis. The “open gym” runs are as simple as it gets. The school must make an effort to post or send through a bulletin. This does not fall under the Unlimited Non-School Contact as this is only allowed from the last day of school until the first day of school! A coach should be able to recreate with the runners who assemble voluntarily!
I hope that I have this right?
SOOOO would winter running club be under this:
Coaches may supervise open gyms, but they may not instruct, organize drills, etc.
Coaches can also recreate with students in school sponsored, open gym settings that are purely recreational in nature, i.e., there is no instruction by the coach or anyone, sport skill demonstration, organized drills or resemblance of a practice being conducted.
5. A member school is permitted to supervise conditioning programs under the open gym provisions, which may include weight lifting, speed, agility, and/or fitness. The program must be limited to non-sport and non-sport-skill-specific instruction. Basic ‘instruction’ e.g., safe lifting, safe spotting, training regimen and rationale, are permitted. No sport implements and/or sport specific movement/drills should be part of the open gym or weight room. These conditioning programs must be made known and accessible to all interested students and must be voluntary.
That’s hilarious, if it weren’t so absurd.
These two sentences directly contradict themselves…
which may include weight lifting, speed, agility, and/or fitness. The program must be limited to non-sport and non-sport-skill-specific instruction.
Huh, so you could help runners with “fitness”, but not running, because that would be sport specific?
So here’s a reply from the WIAA:
We’ve been over these rules many time before. Nothing has changed.
Coaches may not have coaching contact with students. Which equals no involvement in training.
Schools may not conduct fundamentals out of season. Which equals no clubs.
No sport implements in open gyms. Which equals no shots, hurdles, etc.
There is no rule against coaches working or volunteering at a meet. Coaches may not have any coaching contact or provide instruction.
Coaches may compete against their athletes in competition, but may not compete with their athletes.
Open gyms are limited to the students from that school and adults (alumni) from the community. Coaches may recreate at school open gyms. No instruction. No organized drills.
Recreating with the athletes does not extend to nonschool organizations.
Students can do what they want without school/coach involvement.
Here are the open gym rules from the Rules at a Glance:
Coaches and schools cannot be involved in out-of-season practice for athletes. However open gyms do not violate WIAA rules if they are conducted according to the following guidelines:
1. The open gym is made known and available to all students in the designated population of that school that are interested in attending. Open gyms may be gender specific. It is also acceptable to include people from the community. Schools may conduct “open gyms” in any activity. It is not acceptable to include athletes from another school, public or nonpublic.
2. There is no instruction during the open gym by a coach or anyone else.
3. Coaches may supervise open gyms, but they may not instruct, organize drills, etc. Coaches can also recreate with students in school sponsored, open gym settings that are purely recreational in nature, ie., there is no instruction, sport skill demonstration, organized drills or resemblance of a practice being conducted.
4. There is no organized competition, such as established teams participating in round-robin competition, etc.
“Open Gym” is not a code word for out-of-season practice. The philosophy of the open gym is students from that school may attend, for wholesome recreation, or for purposes of improving their skills, but it’s something they do on their own. It would be a violation of WIAA rules to mandate attendance at open gyms, or to provide incentives for athletes to attend open gyms, or to limit participation based on athletic status, or to allow athletes from other schools to come and work out or compete against the host school’s athletes. (BL – Art. II and RE – Art. VI, Sect. 2)
Here is the rule on training on page 37 of the Handbook.
f. A member school is permitted to supervise conditioning programs under the open gym provisions, which may include weight lifting, speed, agility, fitness. The program must be limited to non-sport and non-sport-skill-specific instruction. Basic ‘instruction’ e.g., safe lifting, safe spotting, training regimen and rationale, are permitted. No sport implements and/or sport specific movement/drills should be part of the open weight room. These conditioning programs must be made known and accessible to all interested students and must be voluntary.
_From the WIAA Bulletin, May 2017, page 9: https://www.wiaawi.org/Portals/0/PDF/News/Bulletin/Bulletin5_24_17.pdf _
Coaches Participating Against Athletes in The Off-Season
_Except during Board of Control approved coaching contact days, WIAA rules indicate that coaches may not provide sport instruction to, or have coaching contact with student-athletes during the off-season. This rule and its interpretation had prevented coaches from participating against their athletes in structured, non-school league competition, during the off-season. The WIAA Board of Control approved a request by the WIAA staff for a change in interpretation. The present interpretation allows coaches to participate against their athletes in league competition, organized by a non-school entity, during the off-season. This means a volleyball coach, for example, could be participating in a volleyball league which included his/her volleyball players as members of other teams. _
It continues to be a violation of WIAA rules for coaches to participate on the same team as their athletes, in out-of-season play, and to be involved in playing pickup activity with their athletes during the off-season except in school sponsored Open Gyms. The other obvious exception to this is in the nonschool unlimited contact window in all sports except football, during the summertime, when school is not in normal session.
I got this email a while back…Based on the parts below it sounds like coaches can oversee athletes by running with them in the winter based on 4, 8, 9…
Good morning coaches,
For those of you who attended the WCCCA clinic this weekend, I hope that you found it beneficial in your ongoing pursuit to improve your xc teams. I was not able to attend most of the clinic due to a number of family commitments but after paying my WCCCA dues, I did attend the WCCCA business meeting on Friday and Stephanie Hauser’s portion on Saturday. For those of you in attendance on Saturday, you know that I asked several questions once again to get some clarification from the WIAA on rules pertaining to summer contact.
It is not my intention to annoy anyone by asking the same questions year after year at the clinic. I just believe that there are too many coaches that truly dont understand the rules and this leads to some problems between coaches and accusations online that are unfounded and inaccurate. I also understand that Stephanie is new to our sport. For those who were not in attendance, she asked everyone to go to the WIAA website and locate 2 new documents that would answer all of our questions about summer contact in our sport of xc. Unfortunately, I believe that these documents, though well-intended, still leave xc coaches confused.
After her short presentation was done, I had a chance to talk to Stephanie individually. WCCCA president Matt Polzin also joined us in the discussion. After explaining the reason for my ongoing questions of the WIAA on summer contact, I was able to ask Stephanie very specific questions that only needed a YES or NO response. I think these will be helpful for many of you.
Can a team of high school runners voluntarily meet any time throughout the summer to run? YES
Can a team of high school runner voluntarily meet at their high school any time throughout the summer to run? YES
Can a coach supervise this voluntary group of runners meeting at the high school throughout the summer for a run? YES
Can a coach run or bike with this voluntary group of runners meeting at the high school throughout the summer for a run? YES
Can a coach provide a suggested training plan for this voluntary group of runners meeting at the high school for a summer run? YES
Can a coach who is running or biking with this voluntary group of runners instruct them on their form or how fast they SHOULD be running? NO unless it is 1 of your 5 contact days to be done by July 31.
Can a team of runners assemble for a xc camp during the summertime with their coach? YES but it would probably count as part of the 5 contact days unless the runners are transporting themselves and no schools funds are being used
Do the same coaching contact rules in the summer apply to the winter? YES
Can a coach run with their voluntary team of runners in the winter at places like the Pettit Center? YES so long as you are not providing direct workout instruction
I remember this email and all but #8 is not entirely true. We can’t give the athletes workouts to do by email, posting in a locker room or by word of mouth during the winter. Today I was told by a coach that even if he gave his son a workout that he would be in violation if his son gave the team the workouts. The winter runs must follow the “open gym” policy. Which is silly as there is no such thing as an open gym with running (perhaps if you have an indoor track).
Part of the reason why the “open gym” rules are so confusing is that it is supposed to cover all sports. The runs must be purely recreational.
I would suggest that if you are not sure of the rules that you directly contact your AD or call the WIAA directly. How one coach interprets the rules can be different from another coach in the same building. I already tested that idea.
I have seen guys who resemble members of the fall football teams doing drills that resemble blocking drills after school but as football has not finished state yet that might be legal up until their season end whereas the CC season is over and doing workouts and running drills with your kids now would be illegal for prospective track kids. That must mean that those coaches at the Petit Center with stopwatches during the winter must be illegal. Right or wrong?
I really wonder about this! When I was in HS, we would have Captain’s Practices for hockey before the season technically started. However, our coaches would be up in the stands and were essentially evaluating players, figuring out line pairs, deciding who was riding the bench all year etc.
Now I have no idea what goes on at Petit in the winter, but if coaches are there with stopwatches simply to “evaluate” runners and are not actually providing any feedback, would it still be considered illegal?
Side note: I’m sure if they are taking time out to go to Petit with stopwatches then they are probably providing feedback and no my head is not completely in the sand.
These should fall under the illegal category.
Q: How can cross country and track coaches interpret this new language?
* First, remember that Open Gyms are ‘school sponsored’ programming made known, open and available to any interested student in your school’s student population. Open Gyms may include members of the community.
* Coaches may now run, outside of the season with students, including members of the team even during the school year - outside of the season.
* Coaches should be advised that this must be casual recreational running; morning run, community run connected to the school’s open gym, conditioning for any interested student, e.g.
* The opportunity must be voluntary and may not be restricted to track or cross country athletes, only. Include any interested student – same as required in all open gyms. Do not include athletes from other schools.
* Opportunity may not resemble a “practice”; e.g., coach with a watch & clipboard, interval running, taking attendance, posting a specific/required work out. Review Rules At A Glance text regarding Open Gym for additional/specifics about Open Gyms.