I.   Introduction:

This policy defines guidelines for our team practices, competition and general training.  Primarily it is to guard the well being of our student athletes.  We also want to give our training room staff, equipment manager, sports information staff, and game supervisors some ability to protect their non-professional lives.  To accomplish all this, we must organize our assets to achieve the highest possible levels of excellence for Juniata College athletic teams.  It is understood that outdoor teams generally have their own spaces and have priority on their outdoor facilities but they are subject to weather related difficulties.  Indoor sports have priority on indoor facilities but must share these spaces with other indoor teams.  Collegiality within policy is paramount to making it all work.

This policy operates within the following parameters:

  • NCAA rules regarding playing and practice season.
  • Realistic training room hours and coverage abilities given NATA guidelines.
  • The ability of all our indoor and outdoor facilities to accommodate our varsity teams.
  • Other uncontrollable factors such as hours of daylight, extreme weather conditions and class times.

II. Guidelines and policies for low-risk practices or training sessions where a trainer need not be present.  In no particular order, here are guidelines that will be in place.

  • Coaches who are full-time employees of the college must have current CPR and First Aid certification.  Part-time coaches are encouraged to be CPR trained and certified.  Our coaching staff acts as adjuncts to our training room staff in case of any emergency.  CPR and first–aid certification for coaches gives us the ability to allow coaches to run some kinds of low risk practices without our certified trainer being on-site or within four minutes of the practice site.  This certification also adds an element of increased safety for team travel.  Sample low-risk practices staffed by a CPR certified coach can include:
    • Football – Core conditioning.  Strength training.  Walk-through.
    • Basketball – Shoot-around and walk-through.
    • Baseball and softball – limited indoor activities with protective screening (in good repair) can involve pitching machines, live pitching and batted balls. 
    • Cheerleading – Choreography with feet on the ground.
    • Soccer – Core conditioning and limited ball handling.
    • Field Hockey – Dribbling and limited stick work.
    • Volleyball – Passing, serving, ball handling away from the net.
    • Swimming – No restrictions with lifeguard present.
    • Cross Country – No restrictions with radio or phone communication abilities available.
    • Track – Running and all non-hurdle and non-field training activities.
    • Tennis – No restrictions.
    • Lifting in the Brumbaugh Strength and Conditioning Center is considered a low risk activity.  Injuries incurred during training prescribed by the Strength Coach are covered by the Juniata Athletics secondary insurance policy.  Advise team members that all Fitness Center employees are CPR certified and that emergency procedures are posted on the bulletin board outside the Fitness Center should training room staff not be available.
    • Free play – Please note that free play for any team is an activity that requires no athletics trainer or coach to be present.  In fact, NCAA rules stipulate that a coach cannot be in the presence of such activity out-of season unless they are acting in an overall supervisory capacity for safety purposes.  Remember that no training room and insurance coverage is available in these circumstances.  Advise team members that Emergency Procedures are posted on a bulletin board outside the training room.

Low risk practice activities should be approved in advance by the Head Trainer.  A number of risk factors would include but are certainly not limited to:  the velocity of potential collisions; the ballistic potential of any equipment used such as bats, sticks or balls; any circumstance that may potentially contribute to head injury; and the risk of sprain or cutting type injuries.

III. Guidelines and policies for practices under normal conditions within traditional and non-traditional seasons.

  • A certified trainer must be present and on-site for Football, Men’s Soccer, Cheerleading and Men’s Basketball traditional and non-traditional season practices.
  • A certified trainer must be within four minutes of all other sports’ traditional and non-traditional season practices except for those noted above.
  • Guidelines to be followed:
    • Training room hours and certified trainer availability will be established as 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays when classes are in session.  Early morning weekday practices may be scheduled in traditional or non-traditional seasons with prior approval by the Head Trainer and the Facilities Scheduling Coordinator.
    • Any other appointed hours of traditional or non-traditional season practice or training outside of those in 1 above must be arranged with and approved by the Head Athletic Trainer and the AD.
      • On non-competition Saturdays, teams will be encouraged to practice at the same, overlapping times.
      • Scheduling of games, matches, competitions or practices that require trainers on Sundays is discouraged.  Please avoid scheduling anything but low-risk practices on Sundays.  Any competitions that are considered should be approved by the Director of Athletics, SID, Equipment Manager and the Head Trainer.
    • All Athletic rehabilitation work and consultations with the trainer for individual athletes should be scheduled between 11:00 and 3:00 weekdays when at all possible.
    • For Cheerleading, any lifts or throws should be practiced with mats and only in the presence of an ATC.
    • Standard practice time slots are established as 4:00 – 6:15 and 6:30 – 8:45.  Assignments for practice slots will be made as per the following facility and practice scheduling policy.

IV. Facility and Practice Policy

In Normal Circumstances, where conditions have not been declared dangerous by the trainer, the following priorities exist for varsity sports scheduling within standard practice time slots (weekdays from 4:00 – 6:15 and 6:30 – 8:45).
  • Indoor sports, NCAA Traditional Season*
  • Indoor sports, NCAA Non-Traditional Season
  • Outdoor sports, NCAA Traditional Season
  • Outdoor sports, NCAA Non-Traditional Season

Within any of these categories, using the following criteria sets priority:

  • Team that has been in season the longest
  • Team with the next scheduled game
  • If two teams have a game the same day, priority will be given to the team with an away game
  • If two teams are both at home or both away, priority will be given to the team with the earlier start time
  • If none of the above criteria set priority, the facilities scheduling coordinator will make a determination.
  • If Juniata and/or visiting teams are competing in conference or NCAA playoffs, consideration may certainly be given to comply with rules regarding practices for these events.

*Note that with regard to the IM Gym, baseball, softball and track and tennis will be considered “indoor sports” during their traditional seasons only through Spring Break (though these same teams will have practice priority on mezzanine spaces year round).  In any case, it is to be understood that should weather and field conditions allow for outdoor play, then practices should be conducted outdoors.  

In the event of Dangerous and Inclement Weather (i.e. lightning), the following guidelines will be followed in determining usage of indoor facilities.  These guidelines apply only when outdoor practices are cancelled by the Head or Assistant Athletic Trainer.  In the event of inclement but playable weather, priority reverts to the rules set forth in the above section.

  • Traditional season practices moving indoors will work around previously scheduled, indoor in-season practices.  Practices for all in-season teams may be shortened to no less than 75 minutes in length.
    • Indoor sports, in-season
    • Outdoor sports in-season
    • Indoor sports, non-traditional season
    • Outdoor sports, non-traditional season
  • In the event of practices being moved indoors by the trainer, practice time-slots will be extended from 6:15 until 6:30 and from 8:45 until 9:00.
  • Practices that have been moved indoors by the trainer due to dangerous weather will be no more than 75 (outdoor + indoor) minutes in length unless there are no other practices to be considered.  And all practices must conclude no later than the end of the applicable practice slot.
  • Football could practice in Memorial Gymnasium and because of squad size, staff considerations and training + equipment room realities, will be given priority within the 4:00 – 6:30 slot.  This is subject and in addition to the above conditions and time limitations.
  • Field Hockey, soccer, baseball, softball, track and tennis should always practice in the IM Gym or on the mezzanine.  This is subject to the above conditions.
  • Outdoor teams practicing indoors must use dedicated indoor shoes and restore the area to the condition and setup in which it was found upon completion of the practice (see “practice collegiality and courtesy” below).
  • Note that because of delicate scoreboards, score-tables, windows, etc, Memorial Gym main floor is for indoor sports (basketball and volleyball) only.  Exception is for football in-season in dangerous weather.
  • Volleyball should move from IM gym to Memorial Gym in inclement weather and after basketball season to accommodate outdoor teams practicing indoors.
  • Coaches should be collegial, cooperative and understanding at all times.

Priorities for Same-Day Pre-3:00 Cancellation

Football would always fit a 75-minute (unless there are no other practices scheduled within that time) practice into the 4:00 – 6:30 time slot.

Priority Order of Gym Use (when trainer has canceled practices due to dangerous conditions):

  • The team that has the next scheduled game will have priority unless there is a scheduled indoor, in-season team previously scheduled to practice (in this event, the team will have the next available practice time).
  • If two teams have a game the same day, priority will be given to the team with an away game.
  • If the teams are both at home or both away, preference is given to the team with the earlier start time.
  • If all criteria are the same, the coaches will be asked to work a compromise with the assistance of the Facilities Scheduling Coordinator.

Priorities for In-Practice Cancellation

  • No in-season indoor sport will be asked to discontinue or shorten an in-progress practice to less than 75 total minutes.
  • Indoor teams in-session will be given an opportunity to appropriately conclude practice.
  • An indoor team will only be asked to change gyms if 1) there is an available gym and 2) the football team needs Memorial Gym or field hockey/soccer needs the IM Gym.
  • Use of any available facilities will be based on the priorities listed for pre-3:00 cancellations.
  • Sessions must conclude by 6:30 (unless no in-season teams are waiting to use that particular facility) or 9:00 (unless low-risk late practice conditions are agreed to by the trainer).

Any conflicts will be resolved by the Facilities Scheduling Coordinator or, in that person’s absence, the Athletic Director, the Assistant Athletic Director, or S.W.A.  Cancellations for practice and assigned practice times will be communicated through the Facilities Scheduling Coordinator.

General Practice Policy, Courtesy and Collegiality

  • Our teams should be off the field or out of the gym by the end of a practice time slot.  There is no excuse for making another team (or training room staff) wait.
  • Our teams, when waiting to start a practice, should stay off a field or outside the gym until the preceding team has left that field or court.  It is unacceptable behavior under any circumstances to deny another team the opportunity to properly, professionally and privately conclude their practice.
  • When a practice is concluded (under normal non-emergency circumstances), equipment should be removed in time for the next team to be able to set up its own equipment and begin practice on time.  The 15-minute window between afternoon and evening sessions should be used for setting/winding-up and tearing/winding-down such things as baskets, volleyball nets, batting cages, pitching machines, track equipment, soccer goals and field hockey cages.
  • If a practice precedes a game that will use the same facility, obvious allowances must be made.  And that practice must conclude no closer than 60 minutes prior to the scheduled start of event.
  • Evening practices (as per above normal circumstances) should conclude in time for the trainers to close the training room at 9:00.  This implies time for water coolers to be removed and for players to ice.  The 15-minute window after evening practice time slots should be used for this purpose.
  • Sports involving thrown, kicked or batted balls should practice with consideration given to things that can be damaged in the gym (lights, scoreboards, glass windows on doors, padding under baskets, etc.  Any damages or repairs caused by a team will be the responsibility of that team’s budget officer.
  • Spitting on walls, floors, between bleachers, etc. cannot be allowed to happen.  Let’s solve any spitting issues immediately and instill a sense of accountability among all the people we coach or supervise.
  • Any practice schedule changes must be communicated immediately to the training room, facilities scheduling coordinator and equipment manager.
  • Outdoor sports teams practicing indoors should have clean, dry indoor-only shoes available for these times.