Wisconsin home-schooled students now allowed on HS teams

July 22, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Wisconsin home-schooled students can now participate on sports teams at their local high schools, thanks to a provision that was curiously slipped into the state budget.

WIAAThe Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) does not allow participation by home-schooled students, but the organization will now be forced to change its bylaws to comply with the law. Until those changes are made, school districts are permitted to work with their administration and school boards to determine a process for verifying participation requirements for home-schooled students.

From the WIAA:

District level involvement, school board action, thoroughness and attention to details are important in determining the eligibility of home-based private education students, just as it is with full-time student eligibility.

All WIAA Rules of Eligibility apply to home-based private education student on the same basis and to the same extent as a school’s students with the exception of requiring full-time enrollment status in the school district. Rules of Eligibility regarding private, virtual and charter schools remain unchanged, as do the rules for residency, transfer students and matters related to disciplinary actions for violations to school athletic codes. 

In most states, athletic associations determine whether to allow participation by home-schooled students, but in this case state lawmakers took matters into their own hands. Rep. Bob Kulp, the legislator who inserted this provision into the budget, home schools his children, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That certainly gives the appearance that this move was entirely self-serving, especially as the Journal Sentinel reported that Kulp refused to name others who had requested the change.

The WIAA and the state’s top home-school advocacy group both opposed the law. The argument by those within the WIAA is that athletics are meant to be an extension of the classroom and not a recreational program open to anyone in the community.

A similar situation occurred in Alabama earlier this year, where state legislators were advancing a bill that would have allowed participation by home-schooled students. The bill was halted when the state athletic association indicated it would create a policy on its own without statutory mandate.

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