Non-Traditional Students - Non-traditional students include those students attending:

  • a public virtual school recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education
  • a legally-registered independent homeschool student
  • a homeschool student enrolled in a church-related umbrella school
  • a homeschool student enrolled in an online accredited school

Eligibility of Non-Traditional Students (New Article II, Section 25 that will replace current Sections 25 and 27)

This bylaw establishes the minimum eligibility requirements for a non-traditional student desiring to practice, try out, and participate at any level in extracurricular athletics at a TSSAA member school.

  1. The family must reside in the TSSAA member school's territory.

    For a public school, the “territory” of the school is the geographic boundaries and bus routes of the area served by that school as established by the local board of education. For a system-wide public school or charter school, the “territory” of the school is the geographic boundaries of the school system. For a non-public school, the “territory” of the school is the area within a twenty (20) mile radius of the school.

  2. The parent or guardian must notify the principal of the TSSAA member school of the non-traditional student’s intent to try out and possibly participate before the first official practice date in the sport.

  3. A non-traditional student participating for an independent school must pay full tuition and abide by all financial aid rules. For the purpose of this rule, “full tuition” is defined as the same amount paid by all other students enrolled and in regular attendance at the school.

  4. Non-traditional students must meet all other eligibility requirements.

Additions to Article II, Section 12 (Eligible Transfer Students)

Item k. A student transfers from a traditional school to a non-traditional setting but continues to participate for the same traditional school; and

Item l. A non-traditional student transfers to the traditional school where he/she is already participating.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. If a homeschool student participated in athletics for a school in his or her school system that was not the student’s zoned school in 2023-24, does the student need to participate for their zoned school in 2024-25?

    A homeschool student with an existing athletic record in 2023-24 at a TSSAA member school will be grandfathered in to be eligible to continue to participate for the same school in 2024-25 and after, provided the student meets all other eligibility requirements. Homeschool students without an existing athletic record must meet the new rule beginning in 2024-25.

  2. Can a homeschool student who participated in athletics for a school in his or her school system in 2023-24 that was not the student’s zoned school choose to participate for his or her zoned school in 2024-25?

    Yes, these students will be treated as though they were re-zoned and remain eligible, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements and make this decision at the beginning of the school year.

  3. What types of home schools does TSSAA recognize for purposes of athletic eligibility?

    TSSAA recognizes the following types of home schools: (1) Independent home schools operated pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 49-6-3050; (2) Church-related umbrella schools operated pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 49-50-801; or (3) Accredited online schools.

  4. How is the tuition and financial aid rule applied to a homeschool student who attends an independent school?

    The student must pay full tuition at the independent school and meet the same financial aid requirements as a traditional student.

  5. How is the academic rule applied to non-traditional students?

    If the student is enrolled in a school or virtual program that awards traditional academic credits, then the student must earn credits in the same manner as traditional students under the Academic Rule. If the student is enrolled in a school or program that does not award traditional academic credits, then the student must achieve sufficient academic progress each semester to remain on track for graduation at the conclusion of four years from the beginning of his/her freshman year.

  6. When must a non-traditional student notify a school of his/her intent to participate?

    A student should notify the member school of his/her intent to participate before the first practice date in the sport.

  7. How does the transfer rule apply to non-traditional students?

    Once the student has an athletic record at a member school, eligibility following a change of schools is governed by the transfer rule.

  8. How do school administrators submit Non-traditional Students in the Portal?

    The TSSAA Portal is currently being updated to reflect rules changes for the 2024-25 school year. Portal eligibility will be turned on for the 2024-25 school year on July 5. The TSSAA state office will send specific instructions on how to submit Non-traditional Students prior to that date.