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Homeschoolers and Sports

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The question of whether or not homeschool teens should be allowed to participate in public school sports programs continues to be a contentious issue within the homeschool, community as well as with public school educators and parents.

Pro-sports involvement families believe that their homeschool child should have the opportunity to compete with their peers. Many of these parents see it as a benefit of being a state taxpayer. Oftentimes these families have a talented athlete whose chance of earning a college sports-related scholarship is tied to their competing in a sanctioned league during the high school years.

Families who oppose homeschoolers participating in any publicly funded school activity usually make no distinction between academic, extra-curricular, or sports-related activities. The argument from this side of the table generally says that once one homeschooler begins to submit to extraneous verification and certification of their homeschool curricular program, little time will be lost in rewriting Maryland regulations requiring all families to meet more onerous compliance requirements.

Public School Sports and the Law

Participating in public school sports in Maryland is actually governed by law. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) has been given authority by the Maryland State Department of Education to oversee the rules and policies affecting high school sports competitions. You can read current Maryland regulations pertaining to sports participation in public schools.

The MPSSAA Handboook states that in order to play on a public school sports team, "Students shall be officially registered and attending a member MPSSAA member school. They may represent only the school in which they are registered and at which it is anticipated they will complete their graduation requirements."

MPSSAA and Homeschoolers

Current MPSSAA bylaws prevent all non-public school students, including homeschoolers, from participating with public school sports programs - either at a team level or at an individual athlete level.

Neither homeschool teams nor other organized sports teams can join the MPSSAA. MPSSAA bylaws resrict membership into their sponsored leagues solely to public schools. Additionally, MPSSAA team coaches must be a teacher within the county's school district. Without membership in MPSSAA, individual teams cannot play against public school sports teams.

At the individual athlete level, Maryland public schools are prohibited from allowing any non-public school (including homeschooled) student to play on their sports teams. To be fair, individual schools are prohibited from allowing public school students who live in different counties or even attend a different public school within their own county from playing on their teams. Schools who place a student on the team roster in violation of this rule put themselves at risk for a formal complaint and a possible penalty that may include forfeiting all games in which the ineligbile athlete played in.

Read More:

  • Homeschool Sports Access Across the US
    List of states that currently allow homeschoolers to participate on public school sports teams.

  • The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only. It is not considered legal advice.



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