Team Qualification and Home School Policy

Science Olympiad National Policy on Team Qualification and Home Schools

This policy provides guidelines that are to be used with all schooling options and in all states. Primary enrollment at a school will be determined by what school holds the student's records and matriculates the student (a general definition of primary enrollment), and a student may only be primarily enrolled at a single school.

A Team Endeavor

Science Olympiad requires all participants in Science Olympiad competitions to participate as members of a team, not as individuals.

Public School Students

Public school students may participate in Science Olympiad only as members of a team that is formed in the local public school that they attend.  In the case of 9th graders, public school students may compete on the team from the middle school that they most recently attended.  Public school students may not opt to participate on another school’s team.

Private, Charter and Alternative School Students

Private schools, “governor” schools, charter schools, and any other school that is qualified by the state and is housed in a single geographic location, may form Science Olympiad teams from among the students in their student body, regardless of where that student's home of origin is located.  Such schools may not solicit or enlist public school or home-schooled students on their teams.

Cyber or Virtual School (online) Students

Option 1 - Participation through a Local Public School If the state in which a cyber/virtual school student resides allows cyber/virtual school students to participate in local public school activities, cyber/virtual school students may either (1) choose to participate as a member of the Science Olympiad team at the local public school they would attend were they not enrolled in the cyber/virtual school, or (2) form a cyber/virtual school team from among the students in that school's student body as if they were students in a private/charter school as set forth above. A student may only participate on a single team.

Option 2 - Participation solely through a State-Recognized Cyber or Virtual School If the state in which a cyber/virtual school student resides recognizes and financially supports cyber/virtual schools, Science Olympiad will also recognize cyber/virtual school teams consisting only of students who are enrolled at that cyber/virtual school. Such schools may not solicit or enlist public school, private school or home-schooled students on their teams.

Home-Schooled Students

Option 1 - Participation through a Local Public School If the state in which a home schooled student resides allows home schooled students to participate in public school activities, home schooled students may either (1) choose to participate as a member of the Science Olympiad team at the local public school they would attend were they not home schooled, or (2) form a home school team as set forth in Option #2, below. 

Option 2 - Participation through a Home School Team Science Olympiad will recognize Home School Teams consisting only of students who live within the boundaries of two contiguous (side-by-side) geographic counties in a single state.  As of July 20, 2011, the two-contiguous-county/single state policy will apply to all Science Olympiad Home School Teams who wish to attend to the 2012 Science Olympiad National Tournament and Science Olympiad will no longer qualify multi-county or multi-state Home School Teams. (This home school portion of the policy was adopted in 2008 and a three-year grace period of qualification followed.)

Registering and Qualifying Teams

The state Science Olympiad organization is responsible for registering and qualifying all Science Olympiad teams.  In the case of a public, private, charter, cyber or other alternative school Science Olympiad team, a roster signed by the principal of the school is considered proper validation.  In the case of a Home School Team, a roster signed by the President of the home school association or the head of the independent home school is considered proper validation.

Investigation of Team Qualifications

If a state Science Olympiad organization suspects that a team is comprised of students who are not members of that school’s student body or that a team is not legitimate, the Science Olympiad State Director may ask the coach to provide verification of that team’s qualifications as follows:    

  • A public, private, virtual or charter school student’s qualification may be verified by some form of school identification, school roster, recent report card, evidence of residence in the school district or other similar documents appropriate to the situation.  
  • A home-schooled student’s qualification may be verified by the student’s annual notice of intent to home school and some proof of residency within two contiguous designated counties.  

State Directors or officials may not contact individual students to determine qualification.  All inquires must go through official channels that are relevant to and can confirm the student's enrollment status, such as the administrative offices of a school district, private school, charter school or virtual school, or the registered Home School Team coach or head of an independent home school.

Sanctions for Non-Qualified Participation

If, after investigation, the State Director determines that a team or its members are not qualified, it may impose a sanction that may include disqualification of a student team member, disqualification of a team coach, or a team’s disqualification from a tournament.  In the event of multiple cases of disqualification, a coach or team may be barred from future competition.

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Reviewed at the Annual State Directors Meeting on May 23, 2011

Ratified August 29, 2011, by the Science Olympiad Executive Board