I have been in contact with a coach who is in this situation. He has a year-round club, so he works with many of the vaulters in the area in the off-season. He and I have both attended several meets this year, where he has been helpful both as an official and as an advice-giver, also loaning poles to some vaulters.
Let me be clear, his advice is solicited and welcomed by the coaches of the schools he was assisting. This is not a case of a coach being annoying by trying to coach everyone. As far as I can tell, he was only helping the kids he had a pre-existing relationship with, with the full blessing of their coaches. And it's not like he was taking the kids off and secretly giving them advice, he would consult with the athlete and their school coach.
Anyway, I don't know all of the background, but this has become an issue that was brought to the attention of the WIAA.
This email is from a WIAA staffer:
*** forwarded your email to me for a response. There are no WIAA rules to prevent your pole vault coach from coaching a pole vault club, provided he coaches only students from other schools during the out-of-season time period. There are no WIAA rules to prevent him from coaching those students during non-school events. If he coaches any of them during a school event, however, he would then be considered to be a coach for that school, and would be violating the out-of-season coaching rules any time he coaches those students during the out-of-season time period.
He would also be placing those other schools into a liability situation that would be difficult to defend since he had not been contracted by one of those school districts. He has also placed those schools into the unfortunate situation of violating a WIAA rule, making them subject to sanctions from their league, WIAA District and state association. We need to find out what school these students attend, the number and dates of the school track meets where he coached them. The frequency of the violation will determine the penalties to be assessed.
Soooooooo... I guess any time I offer advice to an athlete from another school, I am suddenly a coach for that school?
Here's the kicker... in Washington, we have a rule requiring pole vault coaches to be certified. This rule has NEVER actually been enforced, and I think it's been around since 2003. Thanks to the mighty power of athletic.net, I was able to identify over 20 schools who have pole vaulters competing this year who do NOT have a properly certified coach. I am sure some have perfectly safe coaches who just didn't jump through the right hoops, but I know some of these schools have kids who are receiving little to no supervision in practice and meets, and who are unsafe.
Sooo coaches have to be certified, but we're not going to actually do anything about a school who is not providing a certified coach. But don't you dare try to help one of those kids!!!