Serving Kentucky's Schools and Student Athletes Since 1917

02/24/23 – Competitive Cheer & Dance Tryout Window and Spring Allowances Reminders

March 30, 2023 Cheer Blog Updates


As a reminder to KHSAA member schools, there is a specific allowance in Bylaw 23 for Competitive Cheer and Dance teams to have a tryout period in the spring. During April, schools are permitted to designate a single two-week tryout period following which there shall be no further practice or competition outside of the defined season as detailed in Bylaw 23. Portions of Bylaw 23 are below for reference.

Bylaw 23) 1) f) states…
f) Organized Play and Involvement of Members of the Coaching Staff Out of Season During the School Year

  1. Coaches (paid or unpaid) shall not coach (give instruction in any manner or evaluate) members of that school’s team during competition on the campus of a member school if the activity involves at least fifty (50) percent of the normal playing squad being from any member school (e.g., 6 or more in football or soccer, 3 or more in basketball, 5 or more in baseball or softball); and
  2. Member school facilities shall not be utilized for organized competition against another organized group that involves students enrolled at a member school;
  3. Sport-specific coaching (observation, instruction, and evaluation) of any player from a team at that school is permitted provided that player is enrolled in that school or a defined feeder pattern school under the same local board of education as the coach is employed and provided that play is not in conflict with other KHSAA bylaws; and
  4. With the permission of school administration, coaching (observation, instruction, and evaluation) of students from the school team is permitted at facilities not located on the campus of a member school.
  5. Member school facilities may be utilized during the school year outside of the defined limitation of seasons for semiorganized play both in and not in the presence of that school’s coaches, provided:
    1. No activity may be mandatory for team members;
    2. No penalty may exist for team members failing to participate;
    3. No activity may be restricted solely to team members;
    4. No activity may involve students involving students who are not currently enrolled in the school and are not currently enrolled in a school within the defined feeder pattern under the same local board of education without the expressed written consent of the Principal or Designated Representative of that student’s enrolled school, and
    5. No activity may simulate competition with the presence of officials, scoreboard/clock usage or other game-like conditions.

Case BL-23-7- What are the restrictions during the school year outside of the defined Limitation of Seasons (off-season) when the school’s team members are participants or school coaches are involved (Open Gym/Open Field)?

Coaching is defined as any activity by the coach at a time the athletes are participating in skills (either preparatory or specific to that sport) in a setting in which skills are taught, refined, or practiced. Coincident participation by a coach and an athlete in a sport, such as a golf outing, where the coach and athlete(s) are not entered as a entry or group, or in an activity such as distance running, a community golf scramble or similar activity, with many competitors but no direct coaching, would not specifically be considered coaching.

The “off-season” is the period during the school year for each sport or sport-activity that is outside the defined start and end dates for the sport or sport-activity as detailed in Bylaw 23. The restrictions begin on the first day of school and end on the earlier date of the day following the last day of school or May 31.
Activity during the off-season by member school coaches has the following continuing restrictions:

  1. Any restriction includes all members of the athletic coaching staff, paid or unpaid, head or assistant, and at all levels;
  2. Participation in any activity may not be mandatory for the students and there may be no penalties assessed, expressed or implied for nonparticipation;
  3. No school-owned or issued equipment (including catching gear for baseball/softball) may be used;
  4. No school uniforms, mascots, team-identifying apparel or transportation may be used;
  5. No coach or school/school system may provide or fund transportation for these players to play in outside leagues, even if personal transportation is utilized;
  6. No funds may be used for participation in organized play, including payments for officials, field usage, field preparation, etc. Payment by booster groups is the same as payment by the school and cannot be used to circumvent this requirement;
  7. There is no insurance coverage with regard to the KHSAA Catastrophic Insurance Policy;
  8. The activity cannot be restricted solely to members or prospective members of a team;
  9. No member of the coaching staff may be paid for sports-specific instruction at a school-owned facility;
  10. Nothing about these interpretations allows for the use of specific school-issued football, baseball, or softball gear during this period except during the allowable time periods of Bylaw 23;
  11. Nothing about these interpretations change any of the provisions of Bylaw 9 that prohibit players in basketball and football from participating in an organized game for any other entity from the start of school to the end of the season (including KHSAA postseason play);
  12. All activity must have approval from the school Principal. All other restrictions related to the scheduling, composition, pool, and use of available personnel including coaches, and other logistical arrangements are the jurisdiction of the building Principal in compliance with all local district policies. This applies to any sport or sport-activity held within that local school facility or off-site activities where the coach and team members are simultaneously present, in compliance with Bylaw 1 of the Association;
  13. Participation by any non-enrolled student may only be with written permission of the student’s currently enrolled school and if the student is not yet enrolled in grade nine, permission of the member school in the defined feeder pattern of the student desiring to participate.

The entire Bylaw 23 can viewed on page 15 here:

For additional questions, please contact Assistant Commissioner Sarah Bridenbaugh ( 



About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 289 member schools both public and non-public. The KHSAA awards 215 state championships to 51 teams and 164 individuals in 13 sports and 6 sport-activities, funds catastrophic insurance coverage for its more than 106,000 rostered member school student-athletes, provides coaching education and sports safety programs for more than 12,000 coaches, and licenses and facilitates the distribution of training material for over 4,000 contest officials.


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