Player Eligibility Rules for the NJ Homeschool Sports Association
Based on the recommendations of HSPN (Home School SportsNet Inc), which is considered to be the leading national
homeschool sports authority, here are the player eligibility rules for the NJ State Homeschool Sports Association and their
sponsored tournaments and competitions:
- An athlete becomes INELIGIBLE for homeschool varsity athletics if he/she attains the age of EIGHTEEN prior
to June 15th of the current school year. However, any athlete attaining age 18 on or after June 15th shall be eligible for
the ensuing school year.
- ALL participating teams are to impose a 4 year limit on the Varsity team state tournament competitions.
NO 5 year high school students are permitted to compete. Therefore, high school status is by age, NOT by grade.
Freshman year students will be 14/15 years of age, Sophomore students 15/16, Junior students 16/17 and Senior students
- Coaches can play junior high students (6th-8th) in the varsity tournaments without penalty if
- An eligible home educated high school student who meets the age requirement can also include:
1) those who are dual enrolled in community college as a supplement to their PRE-EXISTING home education program
2) those who are enrolled in a homeschool correspondence program, a homeschool distance learning program or
a home school learning cooperative
3) the traditional homeschooled student, receiving their entire instruction at home
- Students who are on homebound study from either public school OR private school are INELIGIBLE to participate
in the NJ Homeschool sports league. Students of public or private schools are also INELIGIBLE.
Some additional notes and recommendations:
Encourage your graduating players who no longer meet
the eligibility rules to form their OWN college level team to scrimmage local community colleges. It is best for the graduates
and their team if you have an annual graduating ceremony to honor their varsity accomplishments. If graduates were permitted
to continue with their team as young adult players they would be forced to choose between other activities which are competing
for their attention and time (community college, work schedules, social activities with older friends, etc.) and their former
teammates, who are of the true high school age, could in effect be penalized.
Nationally, public school eligibility is usually the same as it is here in NJ which is: "An athlete becomes
ineligible for high school athletics if he/she attains the age of nineteen prior to September 1st. However, any athlete attaining
age 19 on or after September 1 shall be eligible for the ensuing school year." A birth certificate is required as proof of
age. BUT, the purpose of the state in extending to age 19 is to allow the student, who may have been held back a year in public
school, to still compete for 4 years, since he/she would have arrived in high school as a 15 year old instead of a typical
14 year old freshman. NO public school varsity student is permitted to play for 5 years. However, in the case of the homeschool
player, grade is irrelevant and age is therefore the qualifier, as you are eligible for the varsity level by age 14, so there
is NO grade necessity for the extra year. A homeschooled student can compete as a 14, 15, 16, 17 year old (who will become
an 18 year old during the year), allowing for NO more than 4 years of play. Having "age" as the qualifier frees the league
from the IMPOSSIBLE task of trying to define what constitutes a "5th year senior high student."