High School Sports

IHSAA to allow home-schoolers to compete at public schools

2013-05-01T21:00:00Z 2013-05-06T21:34:07Z IHSAA to allow home-schoolers to compete at public schoolsSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

When Calumet Christian School volleyball coach Melinda Carr learned the Indiana High School Athletic Association adopted a bylaw to allow home-schooled students to participate in IHSAA-sanctioned sports, Carr said two words.

"Oh, no."

For 17 years, Carr has coached CCS' volleyball team -- made up of about two-thirds home-school students. CCS has won three consecutive national championships at the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament in Tennessee.

Now Carr's home-schooled students will have an opportunity to play on their home districts' high school teams.

"It will be interesting to see how this affects Calumet Christian's volleyball program," Carr said. "A lot of home-schoolers will take advantage of this -- and I think they should."

In a 12-5 vote, the IHSAA Board of Directors approved the bylaw allowing home-schooled students to compete at their local public school as long as certain criteria are met. The measure goes into effect with the 2013-14 school year.

To be eligible, the student must have been home-schooled for the previous three years and must complete all statewide exams authorized by the Indiana Department of Education. The student's family must submit grade information to the school to affirm the student is passing all courses, and must be enrolled in the public school for a minimum of one class per day.

Crown Point graduate Jason Wille, a spokesman for the IHSAA, said nearly half the states have similar bylaws allowing home-schooled athletes the opportunity.

Florida was one of the first and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow flourished under these guidelines.

Home-schooled students will not be allowed to compete on athletic teams at private schools affiliated with the IHSAA, but they will be allowed to play on teams at charter schools, which are public schools.

Wheeler Athletic Director Randy Stelter said he first heard about this new rule last week. He said he has yet to receive the specific guidelines from the IHSAA, but the former coach said his district will follow it to the letter of the law.

"We will make sure we follow it with integrity," Stelter said. "There will be a number of guidelines that the student and their parents will have to follow and we will work to do the same thing."

Cedar Lake's Ally Rohn is home-schooled, but the standout sophomore volleyball player at Calumet Christian now has a choice to play volleyball at Hanover Central.

However, Rohn said she will stay at Calumet Christian.

"It's about a lot more than just volleyball," Rohn said. "I look at this as a ministry."

CCS volleyball teaches Christ-centered values at practice, bus rides and games.

"I thought about playing (IHSAA volleyball) before," Rohn said. "Hanover Central did very well and I thought about what it would be like to play on a team like that. I think this is a good rule because it gives home-school kids an option.

"But I'm very happy at Calumet Christian and that is where I'm going to stay."

Students who attend non-accredited schools will also have an opportunity to play with their local high school team.

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