June 26, 2019 • Coaching

2019 Coaches Report: Let the home-schoolers play

Last year, Coach & Athletic Director began surveying high school coaches to gather feedback on some of the major issues in the profession. The results help us better understand the challenges faced by coaches, and they guide us in providing relevant content to confront those issues head on.

The 2019 Coaches Report examined the prevalence of athletic trainers in high school sports and legislative efforts in some states to allow home-schooled athletes to play public school sports. We also asked coaches about the nationwide referee shortage and what they believe is causing the decline.

As part of our annual study, we also asked coaches to rank what they believe are the most significant challenges facing them today. For the second straight year, sport specialization topped the list with nearly 90% of coaches indicating they were at least somewhat troubled by the trend.

Here’s what coaches had to say about athletic participation by home-schooled students.

Let the home-schoolers play

Athletic participation by home-schooled students continues to be a contentious issue, but most coaches in our survey said they have no problem opening their doors.

Only nine states do not allow home-schooled students to play public school sports, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association. Twenty-one states permit participation in certain situations, and 20 allow home-schoolers to play sports provided the student meets the same requirements as other student-athletes.

Meeting those requirements is one of the major sticking points in the debate over whether home-schooled students should be allowed to play. Schools that have pushed back against participation argue that it’s difficult to determine whether a student who doesn’t attend their institution meets academic requirement.

More than half of coaches surveyed said home-schooled students should be allowed to play public school sports.
Source: 2019 Coaches Survey, Coach and Athletic Director

Others maintain that athletics is an extension of the classroom. If students choose not to participate in the school’s classes, they should not be allowed to play on the school’s teams.

“Athletics should be reserved for those students enrolled in a traditional school setting,” one coach said. “I don’t feel the educational setting is a buffet, where the parents get to choose what they like and leave the rest on the warmer.”

“If they want to participate, enroll in a public school,” another coach said. “I don’t think it’s fair to other students that they don’t have the same school rules.”

Coaches in the survey who support participation said they welcome the opportunity to involve as many kids as they can handle. Most also believe that parents who live in their communities have a right to enroll their kids in sports.

“The parents pay taxes just like everyone else,” a coach said. “If necessary, charge them additional fees to generate more revenue.”

“Most home-schooled kids are being taught at home from a parent’s decision,” another coach said. “You should not punish the child for the parent’s actions. They need to learn to socialize with other kids.”

Other key takeaways from this year’s survey include:

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