February 9, 2004

NCAA Eliminates Waiver Process for Homeschoolers

Good news for homeschoolers who want to receive National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) scholarships and participate in college sports! Homeschoolers have finally been recognized as high school graduates by the NCAA. Homeschool students no longer have to go through the "waiver process," but can now register in the same manner as "traditionally schooled" graduates.

Homeschooled students have come a long way and have cleared many hurdles to gain academic recognition. Hundreds of studies have revealed that homeschooled students on average score 20 to 30 points above the national average on standardized achievement tests. The average homeschooler's academic ability is beyond dispute. As a result, colleges and universities across the United States have begun to open their doors to homeschoolers.

Over the last several years, homeschoolers have begun to expand their recognition to the realm of athletics. For example, homeschooled student Jason Taylor played football at the University of Akron on an NCAA scholarship and later signed a contract to play with the Miami Dolphins. Kevin Johnson, a 6'8" forward, received a full basketball scholarship from the University of Tulsa, an NCAA Division I school. When the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes faced North Carolina in March 2000, Kevin became the first homeschooler on record to play in the tournament known as March Madness. These homeschoolers, and many others, initially had difficulties entering the NCAA, but the new policy should eliminate these problems.

In early 2004, NCAA streamlined the process for homeschoolers and the good news is that homeschoolers no longer have to go through a waiver process as non-high school graduates. Homeschoolers now go through the same process as other high school graduates.

Initially, homeschoolers were prohibited from the NCAA because they were considered high school dropouts. HSLDA responded by helping to create the waiver process. Homeschoolers were able to seek an eligibility wavier and then submit the required documentation of their homeschool program. HSLDA was able to help many homeschoolers successfully navigate this process.

As a result of the excellent performance of homeschoolers, the NCAA has decided to change the policy to place homeschoolers into the mainstream with other high school graduates.

The NCAA has eagerly worked with HSLDA to establish some clear guidelines and procedures for homeschooled students. Homeschooled students must, like all students, meet the NCAA initial eligibility standards in order to be eligible for scholarships at their university. Traditionally schooled student athletes must be certified by the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse as having met the initial eligibility requirements. Homeschooled student athletes must be certified as having met the initial eligibility requirements as well, and are no longer required to seek an eligibility waiver as non-graduates, but are able to register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse in the same manner as "traditionally schooled" students.

These requirements are much less invasive. Homeschoolers must:

  1. Register with the clearinghouse. Online registration can be completed at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net.

  2. Take the ACT or SAT test. When registering for either test, the student must select the clearinghouse as one of the recipients of the test score. The clearinghouse code is 9999.

  3. Upon graduation, provide the clearinghouse with the following materials:

    -Transcript (including course titles, grades, units of credits for courses and grading scale),

    -Proof of graduation in the form of a diploma, listing the graduation month and year,

    -A list of texts used in core courses throughout home instruction (including title and publisher), and

    -Proof that the homeschool was conducted in accordance with state law using either a copy of the state form, or a statement from the homeschool teacher.

The good news is that homeschoolers are no longer required to provide a description of the homeschool teaching environment, copies of the table of contents for textbooks utilized in core courses, or samples of work completed, as they were under the waiver. Discretionary approval of these details and the sheer volume of requested documentation caused much confusion. We are thankful the NCAA chose to discontinue this unnecessary and burdensome process.

Periodically, HSLDA members have run into difficulties with the NCAA. If difficulties arise with the new procedures, HSLDA is available to contact the NCAA and help resolve the problems.

 Other Resources

Letter from NCAA reguarding changes to the NCAA initial-eligibility certification of home schooled students.