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December 3, 2012

Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Virginia. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

Sports Access Legislation Coming

Legislative season is just about to open, and the ability of homeschoolers to play on public school teams will likely once again be a prominent issue. The very first question asked is usually: “How many states allow homeschoolers to play sports?”

The Home School Legal Defense Association staff has carefully researched this issue as a service to our members interested in the topic. Here is what we found.

Twenty-seven states allow homeschoolers to play sports either as a matter of right or if their local school system approves. Twenty-three states don’t allow homeschool students to play sports at all, or under restrictions that exclude nearly all families.

Looking at the issue more closely, state policies can be placed into four categories, or tiers.

In Tier 1 states, homeschool students have clear access to public school sports subject to requirements that all homeschoolers can usually satisfy. There are 21 Tier 1 states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming).

In Tier 2 states, homeschoolers can play sports only with the approval of their public school district. The school district, however, has “blank check” authority to approve or disapprove. There are six Tier 2 states (Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee).

In Tier 3 states, homeschoolers technically have the right to obtain access to sports, but virtually all homeschoolers are excluded in reality. There are two Tier 3 states (Alaska and Nebraska).

In Tier 4 states, homeschoolers have no access to public school sports. There are 21 Tier 4 states. (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin).

For a detailed explanation of virtually every available state policy, read our article “State Laws Concerning Participation of Homeschool Students in Public School Activities.”

We respect the views of both the proponents and opponents of sports access in Virginia. As in the past, HSLDA will take a neutral position on sports access legislation.

 Other Resources

HSLDA Issues Library: “Sports and Public School Classes”