Intro to NCHC Eligibility Guidelines
NCHC Events are for NCHC-eligible HomeSchool Student-Athletes unless otherwise noted.
All teams attending NCHC run or NCHC-sanctioned events must have all their parents complete the NCHC Player registration form; additionally, all coaches (head/assistant) must complete the NCHC coaches registration. This requirement has been put in place to assure that all parents, coaches, & leaders within the program fully understand and acknowledge NCHC eligibility guidelines that are designed to protect the reputation of HomeSchool Athletics & your team’s post-season experience.
The NCHC Eligibility Guidelines have been created by the head coaches and leaders of NCHC Member Organizations over the past 30+ years. One of the ways that this happens is with Committee & Board votes!
• Each NCHC Member Organization in good standing will be able to assign one leader (usually A.D.) to the NCHBC Eligibility Guidelines Committee (EGC.)
• Each NCHC Member Organization in good standing’s head coaches & leaders will be part of the NCHBC Eligibility Advisory Board (EAB)
The reason the NCHC Eligibility Guidelines exist is that the Member Organizations, year after year, have consistently voted that
The NCHC believes that the teams attending our events should have a say in what the eligibility standards are. Over the years, some clear precedent has been set, allowing the Executive Committee to approve or deny almost all hardship exemptions without taking it to the Board or Committee. With that said, we always have unique situations and bring these for a vote to the member organizations. Also, if a hardship is denied (based on past precedent), the member organization has the ability to appeal the denial to the EAB.
The Executive Committee’s role in eligibility is to be the gatekeeper for NCHC Events and to uphold the eligibility guidelines that the Member Organizations have set. Over the years Members, votes have adjusted, added, and even removed specific eligibility guidelines and ruled on hundreds of EAB hardship situations & appeals.
The bottom line is the teams and organizations that attend NCHC events have expressed through their votes and their communication that they feel Eligibility is the #1 threat to HomeSchool Sports. We at the NCHC have seen firsthand how destructive ineligible teams can be. We stand with our coaches, leaders, organizations, and teams and believe nothing can ruin a parent, player, coach, or fan experience more than having ineligible teams representing HomeSchool Athletics. We strive to be consistent and fair.
The Executive Committee fully understands that the landscape of HomeSchool Athletics is constantly changing and there are always unique situations. Amid this ever-changing landscape within HomeSchool Sports, we feel it is our job, collectively, to protect the reputation of HomeSchool Athletics. We feel it is essential that HomeSchool Coaches, Directors, & Administrators are allowed to have an active role/voice in influencing the rules and policies that they have agreed to abide by.
In the end, we at the NCHC believe that everyone’s opinion is essential to our post-season events; we want to make sure our rules and policies reflect the vast majority of the teams/programs that attend our events. This is why the leaders and coaches participating in the EAB are so crucial, as their votes will help us both now & in the coming years to ensure that HomeSchool Sports’s integrity is kept intact.
The EAB comprises leaders, coaches, and administrators who represent teams from across the nation that have or will attend NCHC Post Season Events.
The National Christian HomeSchool Championship (NCHC) Events are designed to provide top-quality tournaments for HomeSchool Student-Athletes. A series of eligibility rules are designed to ensure that every participant is a HomeSchool Student first and an athlete second. As HomeSchool sports continue to grow, the NCHC desires to ensure that the teams participating in the HomeSchool division of the NCHC tournaments do not resemble AAU/Club teams &/or all-star teams. These rules are not only meant to keep the playing field level at the National Tournaments but are also designed to protect the reputation of HomeSchool teams on a national and local level.
Note: The following rules apply to the National Championships and NCHC-sanctioned Regional Tournaments.
All organizations, teams, & programs that attend NCHC events are to use only players that are eligible by NCHC Eligibility Guidelines for all games throughout the year. Failure to do so disqualifies a program from attending NCHC Events. If you inadvertently use an ineligible player, it is your duty to self-report & self-sanction yourself.
As always, a player that does not meet all guidelines can request a hardship before they compete for your organization.
During the hardship process, organizations may appeal to players denied hardship to the Eligibility Advisory Board (EAB), which comprises the leaders and coaches who attend NCHC Events (details above.)
The NCHC never desires to see entire organizations ruled ineligible due to one player on one team; with this in mind; the NCHC does offer provisional approvals. Provisional approvals mean that the ineligible player would be approved to compete during the regular season with their team, with the team adding (USA) after their name when competing at NCHC events, without the ability to eliminate teams from contention of the top bracket in their division. If an ineligible player is on a team during the season, dropping the player before the event does not qualify a team, as they will still need to play by provisional approval rules unless a Member Organizations Vote (EAB or EGC) approves an appeal.
Definition of a HomeSchool Student-Athlete
“Homeschooling” is defined by NCHC Member Organizations that a student’s education is parent-directed and done at home.
As such, the parents shall be directly involved in their child’s education, playing the role of the headmaster, thereby (1) selecting curriculum, (2) selecting and/or approving course materials and study schedules, & (3) selecting tutors, coop’s, teachers, dual enrollment options, &/or resources for their child’s education. HomeSchooling would also include a person of legal responsibility* of the student filling the role of a parent (*must be pre-approved by the NCHC)
In September 2020, the EAB Rules Proposal Committee voted over 80% to keep the NCHC Online At Home policy posted below. As such, this entire section has been updated.
NCHC Online At Home – The #1 eligibility question we had in the Summer of 2018 & 19 was “what is the NCHBC stance with “Online at Home” (Connections Academy, K12, Epic, etc.) The response we have had to this each time has been the same:
“The NCHC does not have an approved or unapproved curriculum.”
The bottom line is that the NCHBC leaves curriculum choice to the parent’s discretion, provided it is done at home, and the parents can change the curriculum at their discretion.
Clarification: The Online at Home rule excludes students enrolled in their local school district who are doing school online due to COVID-19; this was clarified by an 85% vote by the EAB Rules Committee in September 2020.
If a player does not meet all the requirements below, they may fill out a Hardships Exemption Form to request an exemption.
Basic NCHC Eligibility Rules
- Grades: Each member team and/or program shall have standards to ensure that all participating players maintain at least a 2.0 GPA (on a 4-point scale) during the active season.
- HomeSchooled Continuously: Must be HomeSchooled continuously from the start of the school year. If a student started the year in school, they must request a Hardship Exemption.
Age & Gender Requirements
- Age Cut Off 2024 Post Season Event & beyond: Updated 8/7/23- August 1st deadline– Student-athletes’ age determines a player’s age group. For 2024 Post-Season Events & Beyond we are moving from a September 1 cut-off to the August 1 cut off. This change was announced (Click Here.) Clarification was put in by the vote in 2018. Clarification: A player who is 16 on July 31, with an August 1st birthday, who turns 17, is considered eligible to play in the 16-and-under age group at NCHC events. The EAB agreed to this clarification in 2018 or earlier.
- Age Exemptions/hardships- 8/7/23 Update- When the age deadline was moved from September 1 to August 1, the voters had agreed that with this change, there would be no age-only hardships that would be approved or sent to vote; all would be automatically denied.
- Playing ‘up’: Players may play in a higher age group if desired. In Basketball we offer 10u, 12u, 14u, 16u, & 18u age groups while in Volleyball we offer 12u, 14u, 16u, & 18u age groups.
- Multiple Age Groups at Events: Players may play in numerous age groups.
- Gender: A player is only eligible to play in the gender division that the player was born, as recorded on their original birth certificate. There are no co-ed teams at Nationals. &/or NCHC runs postseason Events. No exceptions. Proof of age requirements* at the bottom of the page
- All Players Must be eligible all season: All teams/programs attending an NCHC event are to use only players eligible by NCHC Eligibility Guidelines for all games throughout the year. Failure to do so disqualifies a program from attending NCHC Events.
Additional Educational Requirements-
- 1st Game Policy: Players must begin playing on their team before the team’s 1st game. Any players seeking to join a team after the 1st game must request a Hardship Exemption
- Graduation Ceremony Participation: A player already participating in a graduation ceremony is not eligible to participate in NCHC events.
- Coop Ceremony Participation: Student-athlete(s) who are not graduating but are participating in ceremonies to celebrate the completion of their classes in a homeschool coop. If these individuals receive a diploma, they are not eligible. If they are only receiving a “Certificate of Completion” for that specific homeschool coop, student-athlete(s) may wear a cap and gown for this ceremony as long as it is announced at the ceremony and in the ceremony program that the designated student(s) will be receiving a “Certificate of Completion” on that day. Announcing the student’s graduation year during this is extremely helpful. Students or family members posting photos on social media must specify the year the student graduates to avoid confusion or being required to sit out. Updated 8/7/23-Pre-Approval is no longer necessary based on a vote stating pre-approval is unnecessary if a player meets all the posted requirements. Please note if a player does not seek pre-approval and is reported as a graduate with proof, they will be required to sit while the family & coach are contacted. Pre-approval can be requested by emailing email@example.com
- Upperclassmen Transfer Policies (BASKETBALL ONLY) See Below
If a player does not meet the requirements above, they must fill out a Hardship Exemption Form
The Role of Outside Institutions
Private and Public Schools
- Full-time enrollment in a traditional public or private school is not homeschooling because the child’s education in such schools is not parent-directed. A player that attends any type of school full-time is not eligible. Even if the school is small and does not offer sports, for part-time students at these types of schools, the student must maintain at least 51% of his/her education from classes that meet the homeschooling definition.
In September 2020, the EAB Rules Proposal Committee voted on whether or not to readdress this rule in the event it was a “small school that does not have sports” in this vote, under 40% voted to readdress this rule. As such, this entire section has been updated.
Coop and Umbrella Schools
**EAB approved following update 9/13/18**
Participation in cooperative and/or umbrella schools is permitted in multiple circumstances.
- In some states, “HomeSchool students” are required by law to attend a private school, and, in such cases, cooperative or umbrella schools are formed for this purpose. The approval of these types of schooling situations is automatic in states with these types of laws. These schools, whether called cooperative, umbrella, or “private,” are characterized by significant and direct parental involvement, often simply representing different forms of homeschooling within a group of like-minded families. In such cases where the student-athlete meets the definition of HomeSchooling and is involved in a coop and umbrellas school.
- States with more homeschool-friendly laws than those stated above provided the cooperative, umbrella, etc., are characterized by significant and direct parental involvement, representing different forms of homeschooling within a group of like-minded families. In such cases where the student-athlete meets the definition of HomeSchooling (posted on NCHC eligibility guidelines) while being involved in a coop and umbrellas school.”
- In some states, “HomeSchool students” are permitted to take classes at vocational schools. A student may take classes at such schools as long as he/she maintains at least 51% of his education from classes that meet the homeschooling definition.
51% Rule (this does not apply to Dual Credit/Enrollment classes)
- For clarification purposes, a normal course load for a full-time student is six (6) core courses; therefore, if a student-athlete is taking more than three (3) courses at a public, private, or vocational, he/she is not considered 51% homeschooled (dual credit/enrollment classes are not counted against the student.)
Dual Credit/Enrollment Clause
- Freshman, Sophomore, & Junior HomeSchool Student-Athletes taking advantage of Dual Credit/Enrollment Programs are required to take three (3) High School Courses per semester. Senior HomeSchool Student-Athletes that are taking advantage of Dual Credit/Enrollment Programs are required to take a minimum of two (2) High School Courses per semester. High School Courses can be electives (like Physical Education, etc.). High School Courses can be taken through Co-Ops or any other eligible parent-directed definition.
Transfers under Disciplinary action
- Not Eligible. Any student who transfers from a public school, Christian/Private School, or another HomeSchool team and is under disciplinary action(s) must go through the Hardship Exemption process OR wait one (1) year before he/she is eligible to participate.
Additional Non-Educational Requirements
- Marriage: A player cannot be married.
- Attended School as a Senior: An upperclassman transfer that attended school as a Senior is not eligible. Additional guidelines can be found under the upperclassmen transfer policy (below.)
- HomeSchooled Continuously: Must be HomeSchooled continuously from the start of the school year. If a student started the year in school, they must request a Hardship Exemption
- Mile Radius: A player must live within a 100-mile radius of the team’s practice facility.
- Player Registration: All players attending an NCHC Event must have the NCHCLive.com player registration completed by their parents.
- Live at Home with Parents: A player must live at home with his/her parent or court-appointed legal guardian. In the case of foster children or other family hardships, an organization can seek NCHC Pre-Approval* from the person legally responsible person. To gain NCHC Pre-approval, the 1st step in these situations is to fill out a Hardship Request.
Additional Basketball Only Guidelines & Procedures:
Invitational: Beginning in 2016, all NCHBC (Basketball) Post Season (Regionals & Nationals) Events will be Invitationals, meaning the first eligibility requirement for any team to attend an NCHBC Post Season Event will be to receive an official invite to request an NCHBC Invitation complete the team registration/Invitation Request form Click Here.
NCHBC Upperclassmen Transfer Policy-
HomeSchool, Public, Private, etc.
- HomeSchool to HomeSchool Transfers (2023-24 season)– This is Year 2 of a four-year implementation plan. Guidelines: No sitting period if a team has five or fewer combined upperclassmen homeschool transfers from NCHBC 2023 Participants. This policy includes players who have been homeschooled from the start of the year to the end of the year for two consecutive years (regardless of who they played for.)
- Transfer From School on non-NCHBC 2023 HomeSchool team: Incoming Juniors– Attended Previous School as Sophomore- Not eligible to compete in games until November 23rd. Players who attended school as a Sophomore and transferred to a HomeSchool team before the team’s first game** are not eligible to play until November 23rd. Permitted to practice & scrimmage with their program while sitting out.
- Transfer From School on non-NCHBC 2023 HomeSchool team: Incoming Seniors– Attended Previous School as Junior- Not eligible to compete in games until January 1st– Players who attended school as a Junior and transfer to a HomeSchool team before the team’s first game* are not eligible to play until January 1st. Permitted to practice & scrimmage with their program while sitting out.
- Senior at Brick & Mortar School– Automatic denial. No player who has attended school as a senior has eligibility left to compete in games within HomeSchool Athletics.
- In-season upperclassmen transfers. A zero-tolerance policy on in-season upperclassmen transfers. Automatic denial with no ability to appeal to EAB; any appeals would be sent to the eligibility guidelines committee (EGC).
Clarification: Student-athlete transfer classifications are based on the student’s grade at the school or team they are transferring from. ie: If the student was a Junior at their previous school/team, they are considered an incoming Senior; if they “reclassify,” they are still treated as an incoming Senior in terms of the following rules. These rules are based on off-season transfers. See above for the In-Season upperclassmen transfer policy.
**First regular-season game of the season.
- *Upperclassmen Transfer Waiting Period Waiver Request: If a team has only ONE upperclassman transfer, the family may request a hardship exemption (Hardship Form ). In late September to early October, the NCHBC will review all such hardships and respond based on past EAB Precedent for situations with only ONE upperclassmen transfer.
- Practice: Players are permitted to practice & scrimmage with their program while “sitting out.”
- 16u: If a player is 16 & under, they would be able to play on the program’s 16u team while they were sitting out.
- Group Transfers: If a team has more than three players with upperclassmen transfers who were not HomeSchooled the previous year, the players could be considered as a group, and the EAB or NCHC Committee would have the right to include waiting periods for freshman and sophomores transfers and possibly increase Juniors waiting period. This clause is designed to stop programs from wholesale recruiting players from private and public schools.
As in all NCHBC guidelines, players have the right to request a Hardship Exemption
NCHBC Program/Team Guidelines
Programs are to use only players that are eligible by the NCHBC Eligibility Guideline for all games throughout the year. Failure to do so disqualifies a program from attending NCHBC Events.
All Programs that attend NCHBC Regional and National Tournaments must be a member of the National HomeSchool Basketball Association – Click here for Details
NCHBC “Must Play” Policy– A team that enters into our events agrees to compete in all tournament games bracketed. This policy specifically is for teams capable of playing but choosing to leave the tournament with bracketed games. Failure to do so is a $100 penalty, per game, with additional penalties, including, but not limited to, a future tournament ban.
NCHBC Tebow Guidelines
NCHBC Tebow Rule – Many states have adopted the Tebow Rule that allows homeschool students to play on public school teams. The NCHBC has the following guidelines regarding players under the Tebow Rule Provision:
Players who are HomeSchooled but are playing on a school team through the Tebow Bill, may transfer to a HomeSchool Team through January 1st. Players are not permitted to play on a school team and a homeschool team during the year. Players must have been Home Educated for the entire first semester and join a HomeSchool Team on or before January 1st.
The Tebow bill rules are for all age groups High School through 10u.
Clarification: Students playing on multiple school teams during the same year. In September 2020 the EAB Rules Proposal Committee voted 80% in favor of keeping the NCHC Tim Tebow Guidelines as posted, meaning that students are not permitted to play on multiple school teams during the same season. As such this entire section has been updated.
NCHC Policy Page: Click Here
All Parents, Coaches, & Athletic/Program Directors must abide by the posted Eligibility Guidelines & Policies.