Camp, Clinic and Non-School Participation Regulations

It is strongly recommended athletic directors have a preseason meeting with all coaches to clarify the rules. The coaches should then have a preseason meeting with players to explain the limitations they face under the rules. The following guidelines are taken from the 2014-2015 By-laws:

36.15(6) Summer camps and clinics and coaching contacts out of season.

  • School personnel, whether employed or volunteers, of a member or associate member school shall not coach that school’s student athletes during the school year in a sport for which the school personnel are currently under contract or are volunteers, outside the period from the official first day of practice through the finals of tournament play.  Provided, however, school personnel may coach a senior student from the coach’s school in an all-star contest once the senior student’s interscholastic athletic season for that sport has concluded.  In addition, volunteer or compensated coaching personnel shall not require students to participate in any activities outside the season of that coach’s sport as a condition of participation in the coach’s sport during its season.
  • A summer team or individual camp or clinic held at a member or associate member school facility shall not conflict with sports in season. Coaching activities between June 1 and the first day of fall sports practices shall not conflict with sports in season.
  • Penalty. A school whose volunteer or compensated coaching personnel violate this rule is ineligible to participate in a governing organization-sponsored event in that sport for one year with the violator(s) coaching.
    36.15(7) Nonschool team participation. The local school board shall by policy determine whether or not participation in non-school athletic events during the same season is permitted and provide penalties for students who may be in violation of the board’s policy.
    This rule is intended to implement Iowa Code sections 256.46, 280.13 and 282.18.



  1. Who is a “volunteer” as used in 36.15(6)? A volunteer is an unpaid person who holds a coaching authorization or a coaching endorsement and who is acting under the direction of an employed coach and with the knowledge and approval of the school administration.
  2. Who is a “coach” as used in 36.15(6)? “Coach” means an individual, with coaching endorsement or authorization as required by Iowa law, employed by a school district under the provisions of an extracurricular athletic contract or employed by a nonpublic school in a position responsible for an extracurricular athletic activity. “Coach” also includes an individual who instructs, diagnoses, prescribes, evaluates, assists, or directs student learning of an interscholastic athletic endeavor on a voluntary basis on behalf of a school or school district.
  3. What is covered by the term “coaching”? Can a coach’s spouse or friend serve as the “declared coach” of a non-school team when the real coach is actively in the background? A coach diagnoses, prescribes, evaluates and directs the athlete and supervises assistant coaches and volunteers in the performance of coaching objectives. If a coach is “directing” the team or play through another person, “prescribing” who should play, at what position, or who needs to work on certain skills, then the coach is coaching.
  4. What does “conflict with sports in season” mean? If a student athlete has to make a choice between going to a practice or game for a sport in season or contact with a member of the coaching staff, a conflict exists: therefore, the sport in season takes precedence. In cases of emergency or rescheduling, the priority is with the sport in season.
  5. What is “summertime” as defined in 36.15(6)? The beginning of summertime coincides with the end of classes and ends with the first day of school in the fall. The school year begins with the first day of classes, ends after the final day of classes in the spring and includes all days in between.
  6. What is “participating” as defined in 36.15(7)? If a student is a member of the school team, she is “participating” in that sport. A student is “participating” on a non-school team when the team is involved in a competition. Practice with a non-school team does not constitute participation.


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 non-school participation rules to middle school students.



  1. Is a team meeting outside the season legal? Each coaching staff is allowed one preseason team meeting. Meetings in excess of one are illegal during the school year.
  2. If a player works as an instructor at a grade school camp run by the coach, does it count as contact? During the school year, outside the sport season, students may work at a one-time, one-day clinic for elementary/middle school students run by the coach with contact.
  3. If a coach runs for exercise and health reasons and occasionally runs with some of his/her cross country runners during the off-season (winter or summer), does this constitute contact? During the school year, outside the sport season, a coach may not participate with or against his students in the sport the coach coaches. During the summer, such would constitute legal contact.
  4. Can coaches officiate their athletes outside the sport season? Officiating does not constitute contact.
  5. A softball player has enrolled in a basketball camp in which his coach is a member of the staff. Can the softball player still attend the camp? Yes. The student can participate in any camp, clinic, etc. s/he chooses. The coach must avoid having contact with a summer sport student if that contact prevents the student from participating or practicing with the in season school team, unless permission is granted by the coach.
  6. Does transportation count as contact? The act of transporting students to non-school competitions, camps, etc. is not permitted during the school year, but is not in itself contact during the summertime.
  7. Softball practice is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. A student is attending a camp in which contact with her school team coach is occurring and she misses softball practice. The coach says he did not have contact with the student in the specific hours the softball practice was held. The coach has violated the rule because the contact s/he was having forced the student to miss the school team practice or competition, even though the contact did not occur during the 1-3 p.m. time frame.
  8. Can a high school basketball coach work with (coach) a club or AAU volleyball team during the school year outside the volleyball season? Yes, as long as that basketball coach is not also serving as a high school volleyball coach for that school, paid or volunteer.
  9. Can the baseball coach work with the softball players during the school year? Yes, as long as the baseball coach is not also serving as a softball coach, paid or volunteer.
  10. Can the coach of a high school basketball team coach an all-star team which inclues a player from his own team? Yes, as long as that player is a senior whose interscholastic athletic season for that sport has concluded.
  11. Can a high school girls coach work with a junior high school or AAU team? Yes, the contact rule is not applicable for junior high.
  12. During the summer can a high school coach take attendance or use an attendance chart for workouts? No, attendance must be totally voluntary and not required.
  13. Our high school team has a small squad and sometimes not enough to practice or scrimmage. Can our eighth grade team practice with our high school team given these circumstances? Yes, but the entire eighth grade team must use that as their practice for that day. It cannot be a select few. This is only permitted in cases when the high school numbers are low. This is a local school district decision. Seventh graders and younger are not permitted to practice with the high school team.
  14. During the school year outside the season, can a coach have contact with his/her high school athlete? No, contact is illegal. However, a coach may supervise a workout with approval of local school administration. This is for supervising only and they cannot coach in any manner!


  1. What procedure must be followed if a student wishes to participate in a non-school event in a sport during the school team season. The local board of education shall determine a policy to regulate any and all non-school participation.
  2. May a coach of a summer sport give a player permission to miss a practice or contest:
    To attend an out-of-season camp on his/her own.
    Yes. No violation occurs.
     To attend a camp in which the student’s coach in that sport will have contact? Yes. A student can attend any camp or Play any basketball s/he chooses. However, if a member of his/her school’s coaching staff in that sport has contact with her while she is missing the school practice or competition (even though she has permission to do so), the coach having contact violates The provisions of 36.15(6).
  3. When does the school team season begin? The first legal date of practice defines the start of the school team season
  4. Do the non-school participation rules prohibit any participation in sports which are not currently in season? No. The only non-school sports prohibited by this rule are those which are concurrent with the school team season.



  1. I’m a coach and my son or daughter plays basketball for me on the high school team. Is it permissible for me to have contact at any time of the school year or summertime? Yes. At no time is contact with a son or daughter a violation of any rule.
  2. A team’s head coach and assistant coach each have a daughter playing for the school’s volleyball team. May the head coach and the assistant coach be in the gym giving instruction to their respective daughters at the same time? Yes. Coaches may work with their family members at any time without being assessed contact. If other members of the team are in the gym, contact occurs.