EDUCATION & SCHOOLS

Non-public-school students could more easily play sports under a new bill

Jan 31, 2023, 3:17 PM | Updated: 3:17 pm

a soccer ball is kicked into the goal net...

File Photo (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill working its way through the Utah Legislature could open the door for online, private, charter, and homeschool students to play sports outside of their home district.

The Utah High School Activities Association has voiced its support for HB209 Participation in Extracurricular Activities Amendments, according to the bill sponsor, Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan.

“What we’ve seen, every month is that there’s kids that just don’t know,” Teuscher told KSL@Night. “They assume they have the same right as everyone else. They go out and try for a team and they make the team, they go through all the registration requirements and suddenly they find out, ‘oh, you don’t actually live in this boundary.’”

Teuscher said the bill would give some students a chance to play anywhere across the state that has a spot for them under open enrollment.

“This bill helps level the playing field, so they would have the same opportunities as anyone else who is attending public school,” Teuscher said.

Teuscher said he became aware of a problem when a parent called him. The parent was upset that her ninth-grade daughter was told she could not participate in a particular sport because a statute prohibited her from competing at a school that was “outside her boundary school.”

He said he wants to get rid of a loophole that disproportionately impacts homeschooled students as well as students that attend charter or private schools in Utah.

The bill passed through the House Education Committee and is now on its way to the full House for further consideration.

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Non-public-school students could more easily play sports under a new bill