High School Is it legal for a high school cheer coach to legally put coaches fee/similar on our payment form for cheerleaders?

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Feb 12, 2024
So I did cheer for all 4 years and I noticed especially during my freshman year when I made it on the team and we were paying for our stuff that there was some sort of summer/coach fee in a way on our payment form sheet that my coach gave us to have our parents know what they are paying for. I understand that coaches don't get paid much since they only get paid in stipends based in the area of California I'm from, but why would my parents need to pay my coach on top of the other stuff like uniforms, uniform jackets, shoes, bows, poms, etc. which can already be expensive. Just a genuine question because now as I am older I wonder why coaches do this? Do other California Cheer coaches do this?
In CA there are some exceptions as long as a student is not excluded for non-payment, and "camps" are a legal exception. Most states have some type of conflict of interest policy in place where coaches can't make additional money from their athletes, but cheer coaches may be arguing there aren't enough qualified cheer coaches or affordable camps.

Twenty Fees Public Schools Can Legally Charge

Interesting article on the conflict of interest.....

CONFLICT OF INTEREST? Should HS Coaches Be Allowed to Run Summer Club Teams or Offer Private Coaching Sessions for Pay to their Players?​

Ask Coach Wolff

Over the last several months, I have received numerous emails from sports parents who are understandably baffled when they discover that their kid’s HS school coach basically moonlights in the off-season or summer time by running either a travel/club team or offers private coaching tutorials. And of course, these are paid situations.
Of course, the coaches rarely say that his HS players have to sign up to be on these teams or private instruction, but there’s an understated expectation that if a kid is entertaining serious hopes to garner much playing time, then he really needs to be on the coach’s team.
In short, no matter how you slice it, the HS coach is getting paid by the kid, or more likely, the kid’s parents.
Now, as I made clear on my WFAN show this AM, I certainly have no issue with any HS coach wanting to make a few extra dollars in the off-season. That’s fine. But I really do wish there were some clear-cut guidelines as to what the coach can or can’t do regarding his or her athletes from his school team. I think that’s the first step.
Personally, I just have a real issue with a HS coach being paid in some way by one of his or her athletes. It just doesn’t ring right with me. Let me explain why.
On one hand, there are plenty of well-meaning coaches who are on the payroll of the local school HS but who feel that the only way to build a strong and competitive HS program is to run a club team or offer private coaching in the summer. That kind of drive and effort from the coach is to be saluted. But you can quickly see the issues therein. This is one of those delicate developments that didn’t exist a generation ago, but it sure does now. Consider:
0 A sports parent will suddenly realize that his son is not getting much playing time on the HS basketball team. Then he finds out that the Coach runs a travel program in the summer, and that it’s “understood” that if his kid wants to get a better look from the coach, it would behoove the kid to be on that summer travel team. And bring your checkbook.
0 Another sports parent hears from his daughter that the softball coach thinks she needs to improve her swing. And perhaps she would benefit if she signed up for private lessons from the coach during the off-season. Again, bring your checkbook.
Of course, what happens when an athlete and his/her family can’t afford to do a pay-for-play in the summer time? Or the kid plays a different sport in the off-season?
That’s a real concern to many athletes and their parents.
Before you make up your mind, consider this:
In the state of Ohio, starting in 2017, HS coaches have been free to coach their HS players in the off-season and charge for it. Same with private instruction for a fee.
Why? Because in Ohio, it turns out that too many talented HS coaches were leaving traditional HS varsity programs in order to coach travel teams where they had more freedom, fewer restrictions and could make more money. In effect, the Ohio State Athletic Assn. – which for years had banned HS coaches from coaching their players in the off-season – did a total 180 and decided to get rid of the ban in the hope that HS coaches would stay with their HS programs. The state officials concluded that they rather have certified and qualified HS coaches working with their kids on club teams rather than allow pretty much anyone with no qualifications to run a travel team. At least the HS coaches, it was pointed out, were trained educators with CPR and background checks.
I haven’t had time to do a thorough check of all the state laws on this, but my preliminary research suggests that most states DO NOT have a uniform law on this; rather, they leave the question in the hands of either local school districts, or league conferences. For example, in NYS, that’s the approach, i.e. let the individual school district set their policy on coaches who moonlight.
If you’re a sports parent, and have a youngster in elementary school, it seems like a good idea to ask your local Athletic Director as to what the school policy is about HS coaches who run travel teams for HS kids in the summer time. You should really press them for a written policy that is totally transparent.
That way, you can start figuring out how your son or daughter is going to be affected by all of this.
Bear in mind that a lot of sports parents have no issue with any of this. That is, the fact that their kid’s HS coach is available to work with the kids pretty much all year round is fine with them. Sure, there might be an appearance of a conflict of interest, but for them, it’s no big deal. But again, if their kid is already a starter or gets a lot of playing time already, then this works fine.
But for the kid who plays different sports, or who has to work at a job in the summer, or a kid on the bubble to make the team, this kind of “expectation” from the HS coach can been quite daunting.
Put it this way: if your kid was struggling in math class, and as the parent, you approached the math teacher, and said: “Look, I’ll pay you to tutor my kid in math,” doesn’t that seem parallel to the concerns here? I mean, wouldn’t the math teacher then feel obliged to give your kid better grades – -especially if you’re paying them?
Bottom line: This issue needs to be addressed very carefully, and whatever the final determination is, the school district needs to be abundantly clear so that the coaches, parents, and kids are all well-informed.
Thank you for your reply. It was my main concern because I am in college and cheering at the college and I my main concern was that the people in charge were misusing my money. I totally get it if they need the extra money since they don't get a huge salary but I just wanted to know if it was legal at all in California for high school coaches and college coaches to ask for some sort of coaching fee from their athletes. Again my cheer coach did this, and asked all of my teammates including myself to pay $100 to her so it is a little income to her on top of her stipend. I totally understand that stipends aren't much but I would have liked to be aware of it.
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