If a public school sports team allows a student who is not enrolled in that school (or does not live in his or her school's district) to play on their sports team, they run into serious problems with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. The association can penalize the team by taking them out of their playing season.
As a result, Kentucky schools watch their team rosters closely. For teams that incur sanctions, there are ramifications to each student that may affect the student’s ability to obtain college athletic scholarships and the permission to participate in the NCAA leagues in his or her freshman year.
Kentucky high schools have a long history of trying to sneak a player (from another school’s district) onto their team so they can win. They pay the student to switch schools. They pay for the player’s living accommodations (rent an apartment), food, and find an in-town job for a parent so the family “appears to be living in their district, but after the playing season is over, the player moves back to the county/school they originally came from. The Kentucky High School Athletic Associations’s policy has evolved in a response to this type of unfair advantage. One school caught doing this a few years ago caused many student athletes to suffer because of this.
Since homeschoolers are not enrolled full time in the public schools, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association would treat a school that allowed a homeschooler to play in the same way they would treat schools participating in the situation above. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s rule that applies here is the rule stating that all of the schools athletes must be enrolled in and attending classes fulltime at the school and must live in the school’s districted area.
There can be no crossing of lines -- not even within school board districts. Since homeschoolers don’t attend class fulltime at the school (even though they might live in the school’s area), the school will not allow the homeschool student to play on their teams. A homeschool student listed on a school’s roster would cause the school to break the organization’s rules and the consequences are catastrophic. They have too much to lose, so the schools won’t let homeschoolers play sports.
There are still possibilities for homeschoolers who have dreams of pursuing sports. One Kentucky homeschool student in the Bowling Green area won a baseball scholarship to Western Kentucky University. His family drove to Nashville (1 - 1 and 1/2 hours) twice a week so that he could play on a competitive team there.
Kentucky has one of the best homeschool laws in the country. We have almost no requirements to fulfill. We don’t have to submit lesson plans, report cards, or standardized test scores. We can pretty much teach according to what our conscience dictates. Our right to homeschool is guaranteed in our Commonwealth’s constitution so no one can take it away from us. But all freedom costs something, and families who want to participate in organized sports may have to make a significant sacrifice to do so.
What our freedom costs Kentucky homeschoolers is our right to get any personal use out of the part of our tax money that is spent on the public schools. We lose the right to play sports with the public schools. And the public schools have been given the ability to choose whether they want to let homeschoolers participate in any of their programs. We get to pick our curriculum, methods, and graduation requirements, but we give up our right to force the public schools to allow us to participate.
There is a Kentucky organization whose goal is to foster recreational teams for amateurs across the state. I think this organization would gladly welcome homeschoolers if they could get teams together. The organization is the Amateur Athletic Association. The Kentucky Association’s website is: http://www.eteamz.com/kentuckyaau/
Some Christian schools in Kentucky allow homeschool students to play on their sports teams.
Sometimes the local homeschoolers and Christian schools in Kentucky have chosen not to play in the Parks and Recreation leagues. These teams haven’t formed an organized league. They just play each other. It involves some travel, but it has worked out great, and by playing other small organizations, they have found other groups whose teams are made up of a wider age span than the public school teams. For example, the Jr. high team might have one high school player on the team, but they play other small Jr. high teams, just limiting the highschooler’s playtime (if he/she is a strong player). That way, everybody is able to play.
The point is that the kids want to play. So their parents just pulled together a list of small teams to make a playing schedule. One of the Christian schools even has sponsored a yearly tournament using these teams. It started out small, but we have always found other small teams to play. And the local homeschool group has even had several high school teams too.