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IHSAA: Home sweet home-school

Times do change and that's just the "Well, duh" truth of it.

Case in point: The IHSAA's attitude toward home-school students.

Not all that long ago -- OK, so it was 11 years ago -- I did a feature piece on area home-school basketball. Called then-IHSAA commissioner Blake Ress about it. Got an earful of what can only be termed disdain.

"I've been following around one of the local home-school teams," I said.

"You must not have enough to do," Ress replied.

That sort of thing.


Now, as of today, the IHSAA has approved a proposal that will allow home-school students to participate in IHSAA sports, under certain conditions. These include the stipulation that eligibility rules will not be compromised; the student must have been home-schooled for three straight years; and the student completes all state exams authorized by the Department of Education; and the student must be enrolled at least one class per day at the host school.

"Today, the IHSAA Board of Directors expanded the opportunity for additional high school-aged students in our state to experience the values of education-based athletics," IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox said in a statement, sounding very different from his predecessor. "I am very pleased that the Board of Directors has embraced this concept as our Association continues its pursuit of becoming more inclusive while maintaining appropriate academic standards."

As the parent of a home-schooled student myself, I appreciate the inclusiveness. I also appreciate the opposite argument: If you choose not to send your kid to either a public or private school, you shouldn't expect your kid to have access to programs designed to benefit students who actually attend the school. That's just simple fairness.

And that, friends, is why it was key for the IHSAA to make it mandatory for home-school students to attend at least one class a day at the host school. If you want to play for a school, you should have to have at least some connection to it. Otherwise you're just using an entity you want nothing to do with otherwise for your own purposes.

And that's hypocritical.

Ben Smith's blog.