Rules Change Lets Home-Schooled Students Play HS Sports

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ROBBINSVILLE — Under new policies developed by the NJSIAA (New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletics Association), in conjunction with the state Department of Education, student athletes who are home schooled or who elect to attend one of New Jersey’s approved Choice schools or school districts will now have the opportunity to participate in high school sports.

Specifically, student athletes who are being homeschooled may participate in high school athletics pending approval by their local board of education and after showing that they meet the same kinds of eligibility standards required of all other student athletes, such as age, residency and academics. Choice students will be able to participate under the same established transfer rules that currently govern other students.

“These ground-breaking polices related to home schooling and school choice will help ensure that there’s no uncertainty about what is and isn’t permissible,” says Steve Timko, executive director of the NJSIAA, the voluntary, non-profit organization that acts in the best interests of New Jersey’s more than 250,000 high school athletes. “The fact that there had previously existed a kind of ‘gray’ area on both of these subjects led to quite a bit of uncertainty and confusion. Now, we’ve remedied that situation.”

The home schooling and school choice policies mark definite milestones within the state’s high school sports environment.

“Our core constituents are more than one million student athletes, coaches, administrators and fans, and they insist on rules that make competition as equitable as possible,” Timko adds. “That’s why we refined our policies on choice schools and on home schooling. We considered what would be in the best interests of all our student athletes, because that’s where our focus always rests.”

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