Eye on Education

Now Homeschoolers, Private School Kids Have Right to Play on Public School Sports Teams

Athletes competed at the Northeast Ohio Conference track meet earlier this year.

Lonnie Timmons III / The Plain Dealer/Landov

Athletes competed at the Northeast Ohio Conference track meet earlier this year.

Homeschooled and private-school students across Ohio now have the right to play on sports teams and participate in other extracurricular activities thanks to a provision in the new state budget.

Previously, each local school board came up with its own policy on the issue.

Athletic and other extracurricular associations have their own rules about student participation in competitive or inter-scholastic activities. This provisions in the state budget override those rules.

Under the new provisions, public schools must allow private-school students to participate in an extracurricular activity only if their private schools do not offer the same activity.

And both homeschooled and private-school students must meet the same age and grade requirements as district students and pay the same fees, if any are required.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association isn’t thrilled about the changes. The changes go against the principles that help sports contribute to positive “educational outcomes,” the association says:

Included among these desirable educational outcomes are the instilment of the notion of citizenship, loyalty and school spirit, the building of a cohesive student body, the promotion of amateurism by drawing athletes from the school’s population only which, in turn, discourages an overemphasis on sports, avoids “team shopping,” keeps in proper perspective the relationships among student-athletes and coaches and secures role models for other students.

The state budget also allows homeschooled students to fully participate in Ohio’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program. The program allow students to enroll in college courses while in high school for both high-school and college  credit. The state pays for the cost of the courses.

The program is already open to private-school students.


  • Freida Potter

    To play in a public school team, one must be a student at that school. Homeschoolers are, by definition, not enrolled at a public school — thus RIGHTFULLY INELIGIBLE to play on a public school team.

    • Stephanie Troy Rollins

      You pay for something and not have a right to it. See if you feel differently then. In my opinion, if you have a child, it is up to you to pay for its education. I should not pay for your child’s education. Also, I do not think schools should even have sports teams. That should be in the private sector. Schools should be for educating. We all know they need to focus more on that!

      • Heather Como-Devers

        I personally love that schools have sports and so do my kids. It promotes a bond with education and to their school giving them a feeling of pride in their school and something to be involved out of the normal day to dag flow of work for them. Keeps alot of kids in school shen they want to leave also.

    • Emily McCafferty

      Oh like you wouldn’t want the same thing for your kid(s) if they were in that situation.

      • Freida Potter

        No, I wouldn’t — I’m aware of the criteria for playing on public school sports teams (in my town it’s 1) be a student at that school and 2) have a GPA above 2.2/4. If my kid (or your kid or anybody else’s kid) fails to meet said criteria, they don’t get to play on that team.

        (If I was upset about it, I’d work to change criteria — that is what principals and PTAs and school boards are for. There’s a formal process to get a policy change enacted and I’m smart enough to recognize that I’d need to abide by it).

        • bunny

          You forgot-it’s called a PUBLIC school. That means it’s open to everyone in the district. Why are you against diversity on the teams? Really, what a better way to teach teamwork and inclusion than to allow all taxpayers to contribute!

    • Tony

      Have you every had a special needs kid and your public school has nothing for them?

    • Heather Como-Devers

      Paying taxes and for living in the area knowing the kids. Why not. Its not like a heard of homeschoolers horn in and take a spot from a kid in public school. There are many sports programs and each community has schools. As well as extra cirriculums many homeschoolers are involved in other places getting their sports outside of schools unless they plan a college career or pro at it. It is not a common thing and it should be appreciated for the discipline it takes on the part of the student and family.

  • mary musselman

    Homeschooling parents are forced to pay our taxes to support the community schools so why should our children NOT be allowed to participate in sports. I have home schooled 10 children that were not allowed to play public sports, so we had to start home school teams. Some are very talented teams-we play other home school teams or Christian schools. Public schools refused to play our teams because what if we beat them. If they did schedule a game and we did win they wouldn’t play us a second year. Public school parents are willing to take our tax dollars but don’t want us in “their” sports because homeschoolers may bump their kids from the team. We still have 2 girls that we home school (the older 8 have graduated from homeschool and college or still attending college) and we plan to keep them playing on their home school sports team.

  • Joe

    Sadly anyone that goes to a online public school was left out. They must play at the sponsor school if they live in the district . If they live out of the district they are out of luck and cannot play for the home district they reside and pay taxes.

  • Emily McCafferty

    You people are just rude yeah home & online school kids should be allowed to play on public school sports. My brother & I are switching from a public school to an online school because we are being bullied if kids want to play sports on a high school sport team then they should have that right freedom duh. People are just rude cruel & stupid & have everything against other people & it’s stupid so just shut up all of you please & just accept the law. Because I did my high school bowling team my Freshman year liked it. I was on the Varsity team but I took a break last year as a Sophomore stupid of me I know. Now it’s my Junior year switching schools & want my second 7 third year on the Varsity team as a Junior & Senior.

  • Shannon

    if im homeschool can I sports for any school.?

    • Shannn


  • Concerned parent.

    as I read the statements about public school officials in indiviual states and parents of public school students that do not want a homeschool or private school student to participate in public school sports because they feel these childrens grades cant be tract or they wouldnt have the school spirit or should go to a public school to participate I want to say my children all went to private schools and played sports with the public schools until 6th grade at which point we were met with an individual that did not think my daughter would have the school spirit to play on the team and he would not be able to know here grades weekly was a huge diappointment my daughters teachers all agreed to e-mail him her grades weekly and he knows my daughter well enough to know she is all in for the team that she is playing for and he still made it impossible for her to play. It broker her heart that she could no longer play with the kids she has grown up with on other teams. It is a parents duty to give there child an education and to do what is best for thier indivual child and for my children it was a private christian education and for others it is homeschooling or a public school education it is wrong to say your child shouldnt be aloud to play on a public school team because they dont go to public school because my children were not in a public school that one less student in an already overcrownded classroom .

  • Melody Varner

    Does this apply to charter school kids too?

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