The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) permits a homeschooled student to participate in public school extracurricular athletics if that student’s parent has filed a notice of intent for that student and has otherwise complied with the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050(b). Homeschool students associated with a church-related school, or operating in a satellite of a church-related school, may also participate in public school extracurricular athletics, subject to compliance with TSSAA eligibility rules. (See other eligibility requirements: TSSAA Bylaws, art. II, § 25, page 23).

If a school is a member of TSSAA, and assuming the student is eligible to participate under TSSAA rules, local schools are prohibited from preventing homeschoolers from seeking to participate. Tennessee Code Annotated §49-6-3050(e), as signed into law April 1, 2013.

TSSAA member schools may “play or scrimmage any secondary school with grades 9 and above in regular season play. For the purposes of this rule, a school team may be one school or a cooperative program of one or more schools.” (See TSSAA Bylaws, art. IV, § 1.) This could include home school cooperative teams and teams from church-related schools. TSSAA member schools may also play or scrimmage individual homeschooled students during the regular season, especially in individual sports such as track and field, wrestling, and golf. (See FAQs on page 54 of the TSSAA Handbook.

Things to keep in mind:

Public school access includes participation in public school classes, sports, activities, etc.

States use a unique vocabulary in this area: “extracurricular,” “cocurricular,” “curricular,” “interscholastic,” “program,” “activity,” etc. Care should be taken to distinguish one from another. When a state defines a word, it is important.

While athletic association rules are not “law,” public schools are generally constrained to operate within them, or their teams could be disqualified. We therefore refer to association rules of particular importance in a number of entries.

We strive toward keeping this information 100% up to date in this rapidly changing area of the law. However, this post should not be considered authoritative because of the possibility of unobserved changes in association rules, statutes, regulations, or case decisions, and because of lag time between changes and the publication of updates.