Nearly a year after the state said OK to home-schooled students joining public school sports teams, Clark-Pleasant will allow local students to join its teams — with some added requirements.
At Whiteland Community High School, home-schooled students also will have to spend part of their days taking classes at the high school in order to play sports.
The Clark-Pleasant school board approved allowing home-schooled students to participate in athletics. To be eligible, the students must meet all of the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s academic requirements, live within the school district and take at least three courses at Whiteland.
The current IHSAA rules require home-schooled students to attend one course at the high school where they would play a sport. Clark-Pleasant wanted to mirror a school district requirement that student athletes must attend at least three classes on a day when they have practice or a game, Whiteland principal Tom Zobel said.
The IHSAA cleared the way for school districts to allow home-schooled students who lived in the district to participate in athletics last year, and school districts including Center Grove allowed home-schooled students to try out for their teams. Clark-Pleasant started receiving requests from students who wanted to play sports, but officials wanted time to decide whether to let them try out.
Zobel’s biggest concern was that someone might earn a spot on a Whiteland sports team who wouldn’t have to work as hard in class as the high school’s other student-athletes.
A committee that included Zobel, athletics director Ken Sears, teachers and parents decided whether to allow home-schooled athletes to participate. The committee decided that home-schooled athletes would need to take three classes at the high school, which eased Zobel’s concern, he said.
“We felt it would be a good fit for our school and our program,” he said.