Our Eligibility guidelines were created to align to the overall purpose of the HWSA. For details on how we define a “homeschooled” player and program for purposes of eligibility for our HWSA tournament, please refer to the rules below. If you have further questions about the eligibility of an organization or specific players, please contact us.
1. Purpose of HWSA
The Homeschool World Series Association (HWSA) is a nonprofit corporation (501-c3) that endeavors to promote and coordinate an annual high school baseball championship playoff competition for eligible homeschool varsity baseball teams throughout North America, in a distinctly Christian environment.
The HWSA is dedicated to the honor of God, and activities that reflect His honor. None of us are perfect, but this organization seeks to conduct itself according to the principles provided in Scripture, as stated on this website. We will therefore strive to enforce respectful conduct among players, coaches, and fans, and to create a family-friendly tournament experience for all who participate.
2. Definition of Homeschooling
HWSA purposes to serve homeschool athletes. As such, the definition of homeschooling shall be as follows.
“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 (1) setting the date and requirements for high school graduation; (2) selecting and approving course materials and study schedules; and (3) selecting tutors, correspondence courses, videos, computer courses and similar resources for their child’s education.
It is understood that students may have the opportunity to take dual-credit college courses, particularly in their junior or senior years. This organization encourages such enrollment by homeschool students and the definition above shall not be construed to mean that such students are not homeschooled if they are enrolled in the participating college as a high school student.
Clearly, enrollment in a traditional public or private high school is not homeschooling because the child’s education in such schools is not parent-directed. However, the demarcation between a homeschool, a cooperative school, and an umbrella school can become blurred. 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. 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.
For purposes of eligibility in HWSA activities, those students who attend a cooperative or umbrella school, or a “private” school formed by homeschool parents for legal purposes, shall be considered homeschoolers and shall be eligible; and, furthermore, teams from such schools shall be eligible to participate in HWSA activities and tournaments.
Where there is a question of eligibility due to the definition of homeschooling, the HWSA Board shall review the matter and, knowing that teams must make plans, will render a decision in writing and in a timely manner to the affected party.
3. Rules of Eligibility
3.1 Team and Organization Eligibility: Teams and their sponsoring organizations are eligible to participate in the activities of the HWSA if they:
a. Are invited to an activity 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 a service to homeschooled athletes in their local geographic area within the guidelines and rules for homeschooling as defined in Section 2;
b. Represent that each player is a homeschooling student as defined in Section 2;
c. Represent that each player is a high school student, athletic grade level of 8 or higher as declared by the parents and coach;
d. Submit a Team Roster, consisting of 18 (eighteen) qualified players or less by the deadline to the HWSA Administrator, with registration details to include player names, birth dates, and declared athletic level (e.g., eighth grade, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) (Team Roster Rule);
e. Agree to abide by the Rules of the HWSA.
3.2 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 18 (eighteen) players or less who are eligible according to Section 3.3 herein. No players will be eligible to participate in HWSA-sanctioned tournaments whose names are not submitted on this Roster.
b. At the start of the Tournament the Coach for each team shall certify to the Tournament Director that only players listed on the Team Roster will participate in the Tournament. Only players who are shown on the Tournament Team Roster may take the field for game play during the Tournament.
c. Tournament player awards or other merits of distinction will be made only to players on the Tournament Team Roster.
3.3 Individual Player Eligibility Rules: Player Eligibility rules herein follow generally accepted rules established by public and private school associations, and to some extent NCAA rules, particularly with respect to athletic grade designations, years of eligibility and transfer rules. These rules have been adopted by HWSA for the purpose of establishing credibility with other associations, both public and private, and their teams so as to enhance the opportunities homeschool teams may have to play these teams. It is the belief of the Board that rules which could be construed to mean that HWSA teams have undue advantage (for instance, when a player who is designated as a senior appears as a player for a second year) are detrimental to HWSA’s efforts to further the opportunities of homeschool students to play competitive ball and to be recognized by scouts, colleges and universities for their skill and achievement.
Therefore, players are eligible to participate in activities of the HWSA if they:
a. Are homeschool students under the definition of homeschooling in Section 2 since January 1st of the year of the tournament (Homeschool Rule);
b. Live at home with their legal guardian (Residency Rule);
c. Are at least 13 years old and less than 19 years old on the date of September 1 prior to the contest (i.e., a player may turn 19 on September 2 or later prior to the tournament, but must be less than 19 on September 1 in the fall preceding the tournament) (Age Rule);
d. Are athletic grade level of 8 (eight) or higher as declared by their parents and coach. Please note: Once a player declares his athletic grade level, that player may not subsequently change his declaration for the purpose of playing an additional year even if that player played four years or less at the end of his senior year, nor shall that player be allowed to repeat any grade level, even if after repeating a level that player will have played 5 years or less (Athletic Grade Level Rule);
e. Have played at a high school grade level no more than 4 years previously (that is, if a player declares his grade level to be eighth grade, he shall be granted five years of eligibility; if a freshman, four years; if a sophomore, three years; if a junior, two years; and if a senior, he shall be granted one year of eligibility) (5-Year Eligibility Rule);
f. Have not been expelled from a public or private school during the academic school year of the contest (Expulsion Rule);
g. Are in good academic standing and are completing a course of study as prescribed by their parents (Academic Rule);
h. 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 to their place of residence (Character Rule);
i. Are on the Team Roster as timely submitted by their team to the HWSA (Team Roster Rule);
j. Complete a Registration Form signed by the parents and the coach of the team, and provide a copy of the player’s birth certificate upon initial registration with the HWSA Administrator, such Registration to include the player’s declared Athletic Grade Level (Registration Rule); and
k. Have not participated in the current or previous academic year on another team playing at the HWSA (Transfer Rule), unless:
(i) The player has never participated in the HWSA; or
(ii) 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
(iii) 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
(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).
l. Nothing in these Rules is intended to prohibit a player who is unqualified for the HWSA from participating on any homeschool team, including a team which participates in the HWSA tournament, provided that the unqualified player does not appear on the Team Roster as submitted to HWSA for that year. For example, a player who transfers from one team to another and becomes disqualified by so doing (i.e., his transfer is not allowed by the exceptions in Rule 3.3k), may not participate in the HWSA tournament for one year. But such a player may participate in the HWSA in the year thereafter if otherwise qualified.
3.4 Two Teams from an Organization: An organization may not send two teams to compete in an HWSA Tournament. HWSA encourages teams to develop Junior Varsity and younger teams to support the Varsity team, but these other squads may not compete separately at the HWSA.
3.5 Eligibility Decisions: Questions or issues concerning individual player or team eligibility, requests for exceptions to the eligibility rules or for rulings thereof, should be submitted to the HWSA Administrator for discussion by members of the HWSA Board. The Board shall review the matter and, understanding that teams must make plans, will render a decision in writing/electronically in a timely manner to the requesting party. Though exceptions to eligibility rules will be unusual, HWSA reserves the right to make such exceptions if, in its sole discretion, it deems that doing so is beneficial or necessary for the advancement and/or viability of the HWSA tournament, and that no undue advantage or disadvantage will be given to any one particular team.
3.6 Comments to the Board: Questions or requests regarding game rules, tournament rules, or HWSA Rules shall be privately and respectfully submitted to the HWSA Administrator or to members of the HWSA Board. HWSA shall carefully consider each such communication and shall attempt to give a response in a timely manner to the extent reasonably possible. The Board shall make no commitment to respond to comments that are not made privately according to this section.
Log of Rules Adoption
1. These Rules were adopted by the Homeschool World Series Association on November 4, 2002 by the Directors of HWSA.
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 3.3k was agreed by the board April 30, 2021.