Bylaw: Article I, Section H, Item 6
“Practice will be defined as follows: An activity organized and/or directed by an identified member of the coaching staff of that sport in which appropriate equipment is used or instruction and/or evaluation of the athlete takes place.”
Coach attendance at an open gym will be considered a practice and must count within the 24-week season. Per the definition of a practice, the presence of a coach at an open gym provides the opportunity of evaluation of a student-athlete. Additionally, if an open gym is directed by a coach to occur, it will count as a practice as the coach arranged or planned for the activity to occur, whether or not the coach is in attendance.
If a coach organizes for a potential student-athlete to play with current student-athletes in an open gym activity, this will constitute a tryout and must meet all stipulations of a tryout as outlined in Article II, Item D. Tryouts are not required to count as part of a team’s 24-week season.
If the coach’s presence is required for a legitimate alternative purpose (e.g. as a lifeguard during open swim, or because the coach is also the facilities manager and as such is required to be on site while the gym is unlocked) then the presence of the coach at the activity will not implicate the practice provision. However, the coach should limit his involvement only to that which is required by his alternative role. For example, if he is the facilities manager and required to be on site for liability purposes, then he should remain on site but should avoid watching the students’ competition in the open gym as much as possible.
A coach directs his men’s basketball team to hold an open gym two days a week during the spring semester after the men’s basketball season has concluded. The coach decides to attend one of the open gym sessions to check in with his team. Can the coach observe his team during the open gym if he does not specifically direct the students in any drills?
The coach’s attendance at the open gym is considered a practice and must count within the 24-week season. The directive of the coach to his students to attend open gym and the presence of the coach at the open gym provides the opportunity of evaluation of a student-athlete, thus meeting the definition of practice per Article I, Section H, Item 6.
Article I, Section H, Item 5: 24-Week Season
Article II, Section C, Item 2: Tryout
Definition of a Practice
NEC Interp – Creation date unknown. Current as of: August 2016