Our eligibility guidelines were created to support the overall purpose of the HWSA. For details on how we define “homeschooling”, and for team and player eligibility criteria, please refer to the rules below. If you have further questions about the eligibility of an organization or specific player, please contact us.

1. Definition of Homeschooling


1.1 “Homeschooling” is defined to mean that a student’s education is parent-directed. As such, the parents shall be involved in their child’s education by assuming the role of principal or headmaster, thereby:
a. setting the requirements for high school graduation,
b. selecting and/or approving course materials and study schedules,
c. selecting tutors, correspondence courses, videos, computer courses, and similar resources for their child’s education, and
d. issuing the diploma to the student upon graduation.

1.2 It is understood that students may have the opportunity to take dual-credit college courses, particularly in their later years of high school. We encourage such enrollment by homeschool students, and the definition above shall not be construed to mean that such students are not “homeschooled”, so long as they are enrolled in the participating college as a high school student.

1.3 In some states, homeschool students are required by law to attend a private school and, in such cases, parent-controlled school entities are formed for this purpose. These schools, whether called “cooperative”, “umbrella” or “private”, are characterized by significant and direct parental involvement both with regards to course materials and study methods. In this way they differ from a private school in which the curriculum and graduation criteria are set without parental input. For purposes of eligibility in HWSA activities, students who attend such a “cooperative”, “umbrella”, or “private” school formed by homeschool parents for legal purposes, shall be considered “homeschooled”, and shall be eligible for our tournament. Likewise, teams from such schools shall be eligible to participate in the HWSA tournament.

The above criteria notwithstanding, the HWSA Board of Directors retains the authority to serve as the final arbiter on questions of “homeschool” eligibility of players and teams seeking to compete in the tournament. Please contact us with requests for clarification, etc.

2. Rules of Team Eligibility


2.1 Teams and their sponsoring organizations are eligible to participate in the activities of the HWSA if they:
a. Are invited to participate and approved by the HWSA Board as a team and organization that conducts itself (a) in manner consistent with the Purpose of the HWSA, (b) in a manner consistent with the Rules of Conduct of the HWSA, and (c) as an organization that provides opportunities to homeschooled athletes in their region to compete in the high school baseball season, as defined in their state.
b. Confirm that each player is a homeschooled student as defined in Section 1;
c. Confirm that each player is a high school student of school-year age 13 to 18, as defined by cutoff dates in Section 3;
d. Submit a team roster meeting the criteria in section 2.2 by the roster deadline to the HWSA Administrator, and
e. Agree to abide by the tournament and conduct rules of the HWSA.

2.2 Rules Governing Team Rosters and Number of Players:
a. Each team shall submit to HWSA, prior to the appropriate deadline, a team roster consisting of up to 18 active-roster players, plus up to 3 alternates, all players being eligible according to Section 3. No players will be eligible to participate in the HWSA tournament whose names are not submitted on this roster.
b. At the start of the tournament, the coach for each team shall (a) certify to the Tournament Director and other coaches that only players listed on the team roster will participate in the tournament, and (b) inform them of any alternate(s) which are being activated for participation, along with the active-roster player being deactivated for each such case.
c. Alternates may only be activated prior to the start of tournament play; active-roster players which are deactivated, and alternates not activated, are ineligible to play in the tournament.
d. Tournament player awards or other merits of distinction will be made only to players on the final tournament team roster as submitted and confirmed by each team.

2.3 Each program may register only one team from their organization. HWSA encourages programs to develop Junior Varsity and younger teams to provide opportunities for players to develop their skills prior to joining the Varsity team, but no other squads from any program may compete separately at the HWSA.

The above criteria notwithstanding, the HWSA Board of Directors retains the authority to serve as the final arbiter on questions of eligibility for teams seeking to compete in the tournament. Please contact us with requests for clarification, etc.

3. Rules of Player Eligibility


3.1 Player eligibility rules herein follow generally accepted rules established by public and private high school associations, particularly with respect to age eligibility, the cutoff date utilized to determine school-year age, athletic grade designations, and transfer rules. These rules have been adopted by the HWSA Board of Directors for the purpose of establishing credibility with other associations, both public and private, in order to enhance the opportunities homeschool teams may have to compete with these teams.

3.2 In drafting these rules, the HWSA Board of Directors has set a standard which, if adopted and aligned to by participating programs for their regular season activities, will ensure that homeschool teams and players do not have an unfair advantage while competing in high school-level sports due to their decision to homeschool. Understanding that the concept of grade level is more complex and flexible for homeschoolers, these rules are written to ensure that regardless of grade classification, no player who is older than 18 years old, as of the current school year age cutoff date, will be eligible to compete at the HWSA.

3.3 Players are eligible to compete in the HWSA tournament if they meet all of the following criteria:
a. They are homeschool students under the definition of homeschooling in Section 1; they have been such since January 1st of the tournament year, and that through the dates of the tournament, they remain aligned with this definition, and have neither received a high school diploma/GED nor completed their high school studies (Homeschool rule);
b. Are at least 13 years old, and no older than 18 years old, on the date of July 1 prior to the tournament (i.e, a player may turn 19 on July 2 or later prior to the tournament, but must be 18 or under on July 1 in the summer preceding the tournament) (Age rule);
Note: for the tournament, eligible birthdates range from July 2, July 1,
c. Are athletic grade level of 8-12 as declared by their parents and coach (Athletic Grade Level rule);
d. Live at home with their legal guardian (Residency rule);
e. Have not been expelled from a public or private school during the academic school year of the tournament (Expulsion rule);
f. Are in good academic standing and are completing a course of study as prescribed by their parents (Academic rule);
g. Are in good standing with respect to character and behavior according to the player’s parents, coaches, other team leaders, and according to criminal laws applicable in their place of residence (Character rule);
h. Have completed a Registration Form signed by the parents, the details of which align to the Roster submitted by the team, the first year of which is accompanied by an uploaded scan of the player’s birth certificate (Registration rule);
i. Are competing exclusively for the team rostering them for the HWSA when competing against school baseball programs in the current school-year season, as defined in their home state, (i.e. they do not play for any other program in games against school baseball teams. “Summer ball” and “showcase” events are not considered school baseball competition, regardless of opponent; participation in these events outside their homeschool team does not disqualify players from the HWSA.) (School Competition rule);
j. Have participated in the majority of team events (more than 50%) in the spring season leading up to the HWSA tournament (Participation rule);
k. Did not participate in the prior year on another team at the HWSA (Transfer rule), unless:
(i) The player’s previous team is not certain to participate in the current year HWSA tournament (in such case the player must notify the HWSA Administrator, who shall confirm the circumstances prior to approving their inclusion on the new team’s HWSA roster); or
(ii) The player’s family has moved their permanent residence and the new team’s home &/or practice field are closer than the previous team’s; or
(iii) The player’s previous team has moved their home &/or practice field since the previous tournament, making their new team’s home &/or practice field closer to the player’s home address; or
(iv) The player’s new team is participating in the HWSA for the first time with a new sponsoring organization, team name, and coach group; or
(v) The player played last year on Team USA (the intent of which is to encourage the home programs of its participants to register in subsequent years, and the existence/makeup of which will vary year-to-year).

Note: Nothing in these rules is intended to prohibit a player who is ineligible for the HWSA from participating on any homeschool team, including a team which participates in the HWSA tournament, provided that the ineligible player does not appear on their HWSA team roster for that year. For example, a player who transfers from one team to another and becomes disqualified for the following tournament by so doing (i.e. his transfer is not allowed by the exceptions in rule 3.3k), may play for their new team throughout the next year, but may not participate in the next HWSA tournament; such a player may participate in the HWSA in the following year if he remains otherwise qualified.

The above criteria notwithstanding, the HWSA Board of Directors retains the authority to serve as the final arbiter on questions of eligibility for players seeking to compete in the tournament. Please contact us with requests for clarification, etc.


Log of Rules Adoption

1. The initial version of these rules was adopted by the Board of Directors of the Homeschool World Series Association on November 4, 2002.
2. Revision 1 of these rules was adopted September 6, 2003 by the Directors of HWSA.
3. Revision 2 of these rules was adopted September 17, 2004 by the Directors of HWSA.
4. Revision 3 of these rules was adopted September 23, 2006 by the Directors of HWSA.
5. Revision 4 of these rules was adopted September 20, 2008 by the Directors of HWSA.
6. Revision 5 of these rules was adopted May 3 & 8, 2013, by the Directors of HWSA.
7. The Rules of Conduct were split to a separate page from the Eligibility Rules on March 9, 2021.
8. Team USA language in 3.3.k.v was added after being agreed by the board April 30, 2021.
9. Sections 3.3.a was clarified and 3.3.k.iii added after both changes were approved by the board on July 29, 2022.
10. Section 3.3.b was updated to a July 1 school year-age cutoff date per board approval March 10, 2023.
11. 3.3.c Athletic Grade Level rule was simplified, 2.2 Alternates rules, 3.3.i-j School Competition & Participation rules were added per board approval June 22, 2023.