Kansas considers home-schooled athletes on public school teams

February 2, 2015 /
Kansas legislators will soon consider a bill that would allow home-schooled students to participate on sports teams at public institutions.

KSHSAAThe proposal currently sits at the committee level, so it’s a ways from becoming reality. However, the Senate Education Committee chairman said the bill will be discussed.

Several states now allow home-schooled athletes to participate on high school teams. Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, told The Wichita Eagle he opposes the idea.

From the article:

“If a child shows up at the door and says, ‘Gee, I want to play, too,’ this isn’t just an all-comers team,” said Musselman, whose organization represents more than 750 high schools, middle schools and junior highs.

“Eligibility is a status that is earned through a student’s work in school … and those schools are held to very strict standards that member schools are held accountable to,” he said. “What we’re talking about here is a totally different model.”

The measure would allow any student living in a school district to participate in any activities offered by the district, regardless of whether he or she attends a public school full time. It also would allow students to participate for four consecutive school years, up to age 20 and even if the student graduates before the fourth year.

Eligibility and academic standards are always a concern, and both sides have legitimate arguments for whether participation should be allowed. As the article points out, this is a proposal that lacks a tremendous amount of detail, so the bill has to clear many hurdles. But the discussion is beginning.

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