After a policy change by the Indiana High School Athletic Association, East Allen County Schools has set guidelines for home-schooled students who want to join its athletic teams.
IHSAA, the governing body for Indiana high school sports, adopted a policy in April allowing schools to include home-schooled students on teams at their local public schools, provided they meet certain conditions.
One requires that they must have been previously home-schooled for three consecutive years, ensuring that students dont drop in and out of school to skirt academic eligibility requirements.
In keeping with the IHSAA rules, EACS will require students to attend at least one full-credit course at the high school where they will participate. They also must be enrolled for the entire year. If they participate in a fall sport and dont return for the second semester, they will be banned from further participation for a full year.
They also will be required to take the same end-of-course assessments as full-time EACS students and provide information about their home-school program, including grades, attendance and textbooks used.
One home-schooled student has filed the necessary paperwork so far, according to Superintendent Ken Folks. Participation in band, FFA and middle school athletic programs must meet similar requirements, with the exception of enrollment in a full-credit course.
Not all districts will follow East Allens course. Fort Wayne Community Schools and Southwest Allen and Northwest Allen county schools will limit participation to students enrolled full-time.
I will not be recommending this to our school board any time in the near future, said NACS Superintendent Christopher Himsel in an email. We will continue offering co- and extra-curricular opportunities to the many students who are committed to, enrolled in, and attending our respective schools.
Our policy states a student must be a full time student to participate in extra-curricular activities, according to SACS Superintendent Steve Yager.
East Allens participation guidelines wont please everyone. Strong objections are raised when any suggestion is made to require more oversight of home-schooling families. Indianas requirements are among the least rigorous in the nation. Parents who home-school are simply required to provide at least 180 days of instruction each year and to keep attendance records.
By contrast, high school sports in Indiana are all about rules – and for good reason. Adults have too often pushed the limits and violated the spirit of fair play and competition. Rules defining eligibility, practice limits, amateur status, sportsmanlike conduct and more are the result. If home-school families want to participate in high school sports, they must play by those same rules.