The regulating organization for Indiana’s public school extra-curricular activities passed a Resolution allowing homeschoolers to play high school sports. Approved academic criteria, plus enrolling in one public school class will allow homeschoolers or other non-accredited non-public schools to participate.
The Statehouse File reports IHSAA votes to let home-school athletes play high school sports.
The new rule includes a number of conditions designed to ensure that the spirit of the IHSAA’s eligible rules aren’t compromised, the group said.
That means students must pass a physical exam, participate in the required number of practices for the sport, have been home schooled for at least the three previous years, complete all standardized tests required of public school students, submit grade information and be enrolled at the public school for a minimum of one class per day.
April 28’s Evansville Courier & Press article provided more information, along with the opposition’s concern.
IHSAA to vote on letting homeschooled students participate in high school athletics By Alex Swenson
“The IHSAA has always been about participation,” [IHSAA commissioner] Cox said. “This is a chance to extend that opportunity to participate. We aren’t grounded in not allowing homeschooled students to play. Now, they can choose to play under these conditions, or they can choose not to. They have a choice now.”
But not everyone is so sure the transition would be a smooth one.
Jon Zwitt, the athletic director at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, points to social aspects of the change that may affect the student-athletes.
“There’s more to just academic learning,” Zwitt said. “There’s so much social interaction and reasons for kids to get involved outside the classroom. If all of a sudden there was a student that was outside the building and just showed up at the end of the school day, it makes it difficult because it’s like an outsider coming in. I think over time they would be accepted, but it would just be different, and the students would have to get through that.”
A legislator who had previously introduced an unsuccessful 2011 ‘Tebow Bill‘ look-alike compromised and worked with IHSAA on this Resolution.
Wesco’s bill eventually died in the Senate, largely because Senate Education Chairman Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, opposed it. Kruse said recently that parents who choose to homeschool their children need to make it a “clean separation.”
“Once you make a choice in homeschooling with your family,” Kruse said, “you should be dedicated to that purpose and not have one foot in the homeschool bucket and another in public school bucket.”
The bill never made it past Kruse and the rest of the Senate. But Wesco reintroduced the legislation, which led to talks with IHSAA officials. They reached an agreement: The association would address the issue internally and Wesco would drop the bill and assist in crafting a new IHSAA rule.
The policy will become effective in the 2013-2014 school year.