I’m still on the fence about the participation by homeschooled kids on public school sports teams, but they’re in the news, so they get included. This first article from Arizona has a good mix of the pluses and minuses of public school sports participation by homeschooled kids.
- Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, 15 October 2005, Teams find good sports can start at home school
Of the 20 Class 5A Division I schools in the Phoenix area, eight now have home-schooled students playing for their sports teams.
And while no one keeps statistics on the total number of home-schooled athletes, administrators say the number is increasing, much as the overall number of home-schooled students overall is increasing.
The college factor
There are social advantages to playing on a high school team, and it also provides exposure to college coaches and a resume booster for college applications.
The Air Force Academy, for instance, urges home-schooled students who wish to enroll to play organized competitive sports and asks parents to sign up their children for high school teams when possible.
Jarod Gorla, 19, who played baseball for Mesquite High School in Gilbert, said the alternative to playing for a public school is to join a league made up of teams of home-schooled students such as the East Valley Athletes for Christ. Gorla said while that is an option for some athletes, he wanted to play against better competition in the public school system.
When the Legislature was debating the new policy in 1999, the main issue of contention was related to insurance and liability policies in Arizona.
Rep. Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, said the Legislature wasn’t against allowing home-schooled students to participate in organized sports, but was worried the schools would become liable for injuries to non-public school students.
"When you get right down to it, what type of coverage would the state then be liable for these kids who play for teams at public schools?" she said.
The association warns parents that demanding access to public school sports teams could lead to more government involvement in the children’s education.
Playing for a public school team means the state is justified in verifying grades and attendance that are normally private for home-schoolers.
This next article is in the ‘better late than never category,’ and is about a homeschooler participation in the private National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s US Women’s Basketball Festival.
- The Birmingham News, Birmingham, Alabama, 29 Sep 2005, Tourney tips off today at Lakeshore Foundation
Ron Lykins had the formula for success at the Paralympics last year. The U.S. women’s wheelchair basketball team coach had a squad that scored more points than anybody else and allowed the least.
Twenty-one of the nation’s best women’s basketball players will be on Lakeshore’s Homewood campus. Six of those players were on the Paralympic squad last year; they have the advantage of knowing Lykins’ system.
Three players with Alabama ties are in the festival – Gardendale home-schooler Meredith Jett and two players from the University of Alabama. Mary Allison Milford is a freshman from Arkansas; Stephanie Wheeler, a UA graduate student from North Carolina, was on the Athens Paralympic squad.
Belated congratulations to all the players.