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Playing Public School Sports

Playing Public School Sports

ELEMENTARY AGED STUDENTS: Students can participate in basketball at the local elementary schools. This is still considered "rec ball" through Bradley County Sports and Rec (main office on Peerless Road.) You will need to contact the school about when try outs are and your student will need to "make" the team in order to play. You must try out at the local school where you are zoned. All sign up info can be done through the school or at the main office. I personally prefer dealing with the main office since some people at the schools' offices may not know what to do for your homeschooler.

Baseball and Football are done through Bradley County Sports and Rec on Peerless Rd, not through the schools.

Soccer is done through Greater Cleveland Soccer Organization on Mouse Creek.

MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS: All of our local public schools (middle and high) are under TSSAA organization for sports. They passed a law years ago (2013) allowing homeschoolers to participate in public school sports being under the TSSAA Home School Rule. You can find the details by searching: TSSAA Home School Rule & Participation.

In order to do this, there are a number of things that you must do:

1) Register as an independent homeschooler with the LEA. This is FREE to do this. This must be done by August 1st of the current school year. Even if the sport is a spring sport, you must stick with the August 1st deadline or your child will not be eligible. You can pick up the form needed (Intent to Homeschool Form) at the Bradley County Schools main office on South Lee Hwy OR Cleveland City Schools. You may also print a copy from our website. Here’s what is needed to turn in to the main office by August 1st:

  • Completed Intent to Homeschool Form

  • Copy of Homeschool Parent GED Certificate, High School Diploma or College Diploma

  • Student’s Vaccine Records or Letter of Exemption for Religious Reasons

PLEASE NOTE: Grades 5th, 7th and 9th are required to do state testing. You can ask for approval to do the testing that BCHE offers or you may do the testing through the schools. Contact the schools testing admin in the early spring time to do know what exactly you need to do for this.

2) Zoning: As of 2020, the rules are if you are zoned for county schools, you may choose which county school to participate in. Choose wisely, because you will not be able to change schools without changing addresses (transfer rule applies). If you are zoned for a city school, you must go to the middle school or high school where you are zoned. Request to meet with the athletic director of that school. Here is a list of what the athletic director may need:

  • Physical Packet that the athletic director will give you. Most of this will need to be filled out by your student’s doctor. There is a concussion form that you and your student will both need to read over and sign.

  • Packet from athletic director that needs to be filled out with classes that will be taken during the school year, etc.

  • Letter of Liability Insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance must list TSSAA as a third party insured.

So, after all that is completed, you contact the athletic director again and meet with them to turn all the completed forms, paperwork and documents above to them. They will start the process and then contact you when your student is approved to participate. Make sure to get dates on when things (conditioning, try outs, etc.) will happen because they can forget to keep you informed.

Also, remember...your student will have to "make" the team as well. You could go through all this and have your student not make the team.

Homeschoolers CAN be under their umbrella school and still participate in public school sports. Home Life Academy has info listed on their website stating that if you use an umbrella school for record keeping purposes only, you are not considered to be enrolled in the private school. HOWEVER, you still must register with the LEA also (see step #1).

TSSAA prevents students from playing public school sports and homeschool sports at the same time. You can read more on their rules from the link I posted above.


  • Turn in all paperwork several weeks in advance.

  • Know what you need to have and stay organized – don’t expect them to stay organized for you.

  • Communicate clearly and often. Show grace to others in the school system – this is new for them too.

  • Stay flexible and don’t have high expectations. You might get a last-minute call, but everything will be all right in the end.

  • High school athletic coaches want to win games/matches. They are probably willing to go out on a limb if your son or daughter is going to help the team win overall. Don’t blame it on the school if the child gets cut from the team. Just because you are a homeschooled student doesn’t automatically guarantee your spot on the team. Be intentional about helping with fundraising and getting your child to all “optional” practices and/or sporting events.

  • Express your gratitude along the way and make sure you are grateful for the opportunities that God has given to you.

  • Remember that this is not just about you. We are representatives of the homeschooling community at large, so please behave! Your understanding demeanor today could open the doors for the homeschool students of tomorrow.

  • It is ok to be firm, but don’t come across as a know-it-all.

PLEASE READ THIS LETTER FOR ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION: https://www.homeschool-life.com/665/custom/52377