NCHC Eligibility Guidelines & Procedure

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

Academics

  • 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: A player’s age group is determined by his/her age on September 1 of the current school year. The EAB approved the following clarification, which means the deadline is August 31st. For example, a player who is 16 on August 31,  with a September 1st birthday, who turns 17 is considered eligible to play in the 16-and-under age group at NCHC events.
  • 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 pag

Team/Organization Requirements

  • All Players Must be eligible all season: All teams/programs that attend an NCHC event 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.

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 that has already participated in a graduation ceremony is not eligible to participate at NCHC events.
  • Ceremony Participation Approval: Pre-Approval (requested by Hardship Exemption 6 or more weeks in advance is possible for student-athlete(s) who are participating in ceremonies to celebrate the completion of their classes in a coop. These individuals may receive a “Certificate of Completion” (NOT a diploma). In these situations, student-athlete(s) may wear a cap and gown for this ceremony if it is announced at the ceremony and in the program that the designated student(s) will receive a “Certificate of Completion” on that day.
  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.”

Vocational Classes

  • 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:

NCHBC Invitational

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.

UPDATED: April 19th, 2022
NCHBC Upperclassmen Transfer Policy
HomeSchool, Public, Private, etc.

  • HomeSchool to HomeSchool Transfers (2022-23 season)– No sitting period & no limit for upperclassmen transfers from NCHBC 2022 Participants. No sitting period or limit for upperclassmen transfers who have been homeschooled for two consecutive years (regardless of who they played for.) If a player does not meet the above two criteria, they must sit out the full waiting period below. This is Year 1 of a four-year implementation plan
  • Transfer From School: Incoming Juniors– Attended Previous School as Sophomore- Not eligible to compete in games until November 23rd. Players who attended school as a Sophomore and transfer 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: 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 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 may not play on multiple school teams during the same season. As such this entire section has been updated.

NCHC Policies

NCHC Eligibility Guidelines: Click Here

All Parents, Coaches, & Athletic/Program Directors are required to abide by the posted Eligibility Guidelines, during the NCHC Player, Coaches, & Program registration all individuals are required to read and agree to abide by the NCHC Eligibility Guidelines if you have not yet read these yet please go to the link above and review. The NCHC considers anyone that sits on the bench to be a coach.

Sportsmanship is always encouraged by all parties. Parents or adults should never correct or confront the opposing team’s players, fans or children.

Under no circumstances should fans and children be on the court at half time.

In addition to these posted eligibility guidelines, NCHC Coaches are held to a higher standard: A coach is never to confront opposing fans, students, or players before, during, or after a game. Coach is responsible for holding themselves, other coaches, & their players accountable for their language & actions, especially on the court. A coach should never confront, yell at, or display threatening body language toward a referee after the game. A coach is responsible to make sure their parents &/or fans behave during their game. Social Media Policy: It is not acceptable for a coach, Athletic Director, Parent, Player, or team account to make negative social media posts about NCHBC players, fans, referees, directors, or tournaments.

  • NCHC PERSONNEL POLICY: As an organization, we at the NCHC are committed to hiring trainers & security for every event that we run. This policy was put in place following the 2021 Basketball Postseason, where we had both trainers and security hired for all NCHC ran events. Many NCHC tournaments are run at multiple facilities; our goal is that every facility with more than two courts has a trainer or security member hired to be on-site open to close.
  • NCHC Eligibility In Writing Policy: The NCHC ONLY handles eligibility exemptions or questions in writing. We do NOT handle the questions on the phone. Coaches, Athletic Directors, Parents, & Players, if you have questions about an eligibility situation in your program and you have told the player has been granted an exemption, ask to see it in writing. We are issuing this clarification statement on this NCHC policy which is intended to protect all involved as eligibility is such an important topic. All eligibility issues must be dealt with in writing, no exceptions.
  • NCHC Cancellation Policy/Notice: Any team that gives a full 21-day cancelation notice will receive full credit for any payments made; the credit will be good for any NCHC run event for 1 full calendar year. However, any late cancelations will forfeit any payments made, and if they have not yet paid they will receive an invoice. Late cancellations are treated the same as if the team attended the event. We have no desire to make a team pay for an event they didn’t attend, however, this policy is nonnegotiable as we require proper notice for brackets, referee’s, gyms, trophies, etc.
  • NCHC Late Fee: A $50 late fee will be added to any team fees that are not paid in full, 30 days prior to their events start date.
  • NCHC Refund Policy: The NCHC does not issue refund checks, we do however issue credits for one full calendar year to any NCHC run event of your program’s choice.
  • NCHC 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, future tournament ban.
  • NCHC Dual Roster Policy: Players may play on multiple different age groups within a program. They are permitted to play on in any age group they qualify for. Players may only play on one team per age group. As always it is the NCHC policy that teams entering our tournaments have enough primary players to compete, our staff will look at all requests to accommodate dual rostering, however, each player must know who their primary team and each team must have enough primary players to begin each game of the tournament. Ultimately each team must be prepared for conflicts that our staff is unable to accommodate.

NCHC Fan* Ejection Policy: If a coach, player, or fan is ejected** from a game by an official or NCHC tournament staff, the following four items must happen:

1. The ejected person must leave the facility immediately NOT just the gym but the facility.
2. The person ejected is ineligible to attend an NCHC Event or be on-site or campus of where an NCHC event is being hosted for 24 hours from the time they report it to rob@flattmail.com No exceptions. Failure to comply will result in potential additional penalties to individuals, teams, and programs the fan is associated with that could extend into future seasons.
*Fan is defined as ANYONE ejected that was not on the bench as a coach or on the floor as a player at the time of the referee’s ejection.
**
This includes but is not limited to: receiving two technical fouls

NCHC Player & Coach* Ejection Policy: If a coach, player, is ejected** from a game by an official or NCHC tournament staff, the following four items must happen:

1. The ejected person must leave the facility immediately NOT just the gym but the facility.
2. Notify your Program Director (AD…)
3. Within 2 hours the Head Coach or Program Director must notify NCHB headquarters by emailing rob@flattmail.com about the ejection within two hours.
4. The person ejected is ineligible to play in the team’s next game for that specific team. No exceptions. Failure to comply will result in potential additional penalties to individuals, teams, and programs that could extend into future seasons.
*Player & Coach is defined as ANYONE ejected that was on the bench as a coach or on the floor as a player at the time of the referee’s ejection. Anyone else is viewed as a Fan, see above.
**This includes but is not limited to: receiving two technical fouls

  • Seeding Forms/Game Deadline: For a game to count for seeding to an NCHBC Event it must be played before the seeding deadline, dates below. Results after these deadlines will not be considered/counted for seeding, with the only exception being NCHBC run Post Season events, which impact the seeding.
    2021  & 2022 Seeding Games Deadlines are–
    District: January 10th, 2021 & January 9th, 2022
    Regionals/Nationals: January 28th, 2021 & January 27th 2022
  • NCHC Proof of Age Requirement– Each program must be able (in the event of an age challenge) to provide the NCHC proof of age via birth certificate for each player. Over the course of 25+ years, each age challenge has been handled this way.  Worthy of note, no age challenge has been successful. We accept electronic and physical copies, whichever is more convenient for the team/player to provide in the event of the challenge.
  • Disciplinary Action: DISCIPLINE: Conduct that would deem such disciplinary action would include violating NCHC eligibility rules, displays of violence, vandalism, blatant disregard for safety, spreading rumors or slander, vulgarity or humiliation of opposing teams or players (this can come from the players, coaches or fans).  Participating organizations are responsible for everyone associated with their organizations. Disciplinary action may include any of the following: a letter of reprimand and a request for a written apology or suspension from participation in NCHC activities for a designated period of time, not to exceed three (3) years. When organizations or individuals are suspended from participation in NCHC activities, those individuals directly involved with any incidents must be named. Those players, coaches, administrators, or parents named as the offenders shall not be allowed to participate in NCHC activities as part of any other participating team until the period of discipline has ended.

Official Verification/Challenge Form:
https://forms.gle/J9ZuoUimQAaYGTTc7

NCHC 1st Game Policies

To be eligible for participation in the National Christian HomeSchool Championships, a player must be homeschooled continuously & begin playing on their team before the team’s 1st game. Any players joining the team after the 1st game must follow the next step listed below; each unique situation is dealt with on a case by case basis.

Now for all NCHC Sports.