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Enrollment & Attendance Bylaw Resource Center

Understanding the OHSAA Enrollment and Attendance Bylaws

Section three of Eligibility Bylaw 4 “ENROLLMENT AND ATTENDANCE” contains seven (7) bylaws.  Bylaw 4-3-1 has been a gold standard rule since the inception of the OHSAA in 1908.  The student enrollment requirement promotes loyalty and school spirit, which in turn assists in the establishment of a cohesive student body.  Further the requirement helps promote amateurism by drawing athletes from the school’s population only; discourages an over-emphasis on sports; avoids “team shopping” which wrongfully skews the relationships among student athletes and coaches; secures role models for other students and, in some of our schools in accordance with Board policy, permits the earning of physical education credit required for graduation.

The attendance requirement helps ensure that students will adhere to the school’s attendance plan, which, in turn, prompts students to maintain the academic standards required for participation and promotes graduation in a common time frame – which is within eight semesters from matriculation into grade nine.

Interscholastic or education-based athletics has always been considered an extension of the programs that take place during the school day, and it has been the desire of educators that students in these after-school programs be under the supervision and direction of qualified individuals just as they are during the regular school day.

However, to respond to changes in education and school choice, the members have extended participation opportunities to students who may not be attending the member school as a full-time student, which the bylaw requires.  Thus, in addition to the only two exceptions which were available 20 years ago – students educated in separate 9th grade schools and joint vocational schools - the members have authorized participation opportunities to students who have chosen the following educational options as codified in six exceptions.

Further changes in state law over the last decade have extended participation opportunities beyond the scope of this bylaw and created opportunities for students who are not enrolled in the member school sponsoring the sport.  Currently there are four categories of non-enrolled (our terminology) students who have the privilege of an opportunity to participate at the public school located in the parents’ district of residence.  Those students are 1) home educated students; 2) STEM school students who attend an Ohio school that does not sponsor the sport(s) in which the student wishes to participate 3) students who attend one of Ohio’s over 500 community schools which do not sponsor the sport(s) in which the student wishes to participate; and 4) students in Ohio non-public schools – chartered or non-charted (’08 schools) that do not sponsor a sport(s) in which the student wishes to participate.  Please note that due to recent legislative action, a non-public school student whose school does not sponsor the sport he or she wishes to play may have the option of the public school in the district of residence of the parents OR the public school in the district in which the non-public school is located subject to the approval of the superintendents of both the residential district and the district in which the non-public school is physically located. Guidance for these participation opportunities is found here:  https://ohsaaweb.blob.core.windows.net/files/Eligibility/GuidelinesForNon-EnrolledStudents.pdf  and https://ohsaa.org/Eligibility/CommonlyAskedQuestions

Preceding all bylaws in Section 3 is this Note, which provides operational definitions of terms used within these bylaws.

For purposes of this section and the interpretations there under:

  1. A student cannot attend a school without being officially enrolled;
  2. A student cannot be enrolled in more than one school at any given time;
  3. Once a student is enrolled and attending a new school, the OHSAA shall consider the student withdrawn from the former school;

In addition, this statement follows the language of Bylaw 4-3-1:

Note:  Notwithstanding these exceptions to Bylaw 4-3-1, all high school students must also comply with the transfer Bylaw 4-7.