Here are a number of reminders for athletic directors and coaches as the DHS COVID-19 Executive Order has been extended through May 26, 2020. In yesterday’s update, the governor and Department of Health Services specifically addressed and made clear that extracurricular and athletic programs were prohibited during this extension.
All WIAA rules remain in effect. These include code of conduct enforcement, in-season vs. out-of-season instruction and school year vs. summer contact opportunities – at this time.
Throughout these challenging times, coaches are encouraged to have regular check-ins with their student-athletes. Using organizational meetings approved by school administration, a virtual team meeting, check-in and or virtual team building video or virtually can be utilized to provide your athletes support with the “Stay at Home” order.
We are hearing a lot of questions about virtual open gyms. The fundamental rules for open gyms remain in effect, i.e., no instruction may be provided by the coach or anyone else. Schools and school grounds are closed according to the governor’s order. Same rules also apply to a virtual open gym. Coaches may schedule, but attendance must be voluntary with a notice it is open to all students in grades 9-12. It is designed to be recreation – and not out-of-season instruction or practice. Most importantly, it may provide an opportunity for kids to virtually connect, see one another and their coach, and for their coach to check on their kids.
Code of Conduct
The WIAA minimum of one contest is still in effect. However, if your code is more strict, you must apply your code, as it’s written, when you believe it has been broken. You may not arbitrarily change or alter your code of conduct.
Coaching contact rules remain in effect. Out-of-Season coaches may not provide any coaching instruction outside their respective sport season during the school year. This includes virtual, as well as in person coaching instruction. The governor’s order only allows for individual virtual workouts for sports that are in season. Any sports other than spring sports, which are currently in season, are restricted as they always have been. Providing instruction or links to drills or skill improvement virtually would be a violation.
An additional point to clarify, since yesterday’s order did allow golf courses to re-open – with restrictions. To be clear, this does not alter the prohibition on school based sport competition. Your school’s golf team may not assemble and compete as a school program – officially or unofficially. If students wish to golf as is allowed under the present order, it must be without any school or coach involvement.
Again, WIAA rules have not been set aside. Sport specific instruction out of season during the school year is not allowed. However, we do encourage coaches to use a variety of strategies to remain in touch with their athletes.
Please keep in mind that we have resources online: