Homeschooling Students and High School Sports Teams

Court ruling hits home-educated athletes who need high school sports exposure to aid athletic scholarship opportunities.

Court rules homeschoolers do not have the right to join public school teams.

Michigan’s public school districts don’t have to allow homeschooled students on their athletic teams, the state Court of Appeals ruled in a decision released early this week.

This decision upholds an earlier ruling in Washtenaw Circuit Court.

Parents of homeschooled children had sued six school districts and the Michigan High School Athletic Association in an attempt to gain access to school sports teams. The parents said their children were denied equal access to opportunities such as college athletic scholarships because they couldn’t play high school sports.

The school districts’ policies, in accordance with MHSAA rules, require that children be enrolled in a district school for at least 20 hours a week to participate on their sports teams. The rule is aimed at preventing schools from recruiting students for their sports teams.

The appeals court cited earlier cases that determined playing interscholastic sports is a privilege, not a right.

The appeals court said the law does not require schools to allow non-enrolled students to participate on athletic teams. There was also no evidence of religious discrimination or denial of equal protection under the law, the appeals court said.

The case involved seven families. They had sued the MHSAA, Kenowa Hills Public Schools, Ypsilanti Public School District, Caro Community Schools, Grandville Public School District, Pinckney Community Schools, and the Tuscola Intermediate School District.

Court of Appeals judges who concurred in the opinion were Patrick Meter and Stephen Borrello. Judge Michael Talbot concurred in the result only.

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