Since its inception in 1908, the member schools of the OHSAA have welcomed international students to our state and into the athletics programs sponsored by the member schools with certain restrictions. Unfortunately, the history of this Association and others like ours within the USA has demonstrated that students from outside the United States are very often targets for exploitation and recruitment for purely athletic reasons. In order to keep the playing field level for both the international student and for students who live in Ohio, to prevent displacement and to reduce the opportunity for recruiting, the membership has approved three ways by which an international student may participate in an Ohio member school. Those three ways are described below and include what a school administrator must do to secure an eligibility ruling.
The purpose of this section on the Bylaw 4-8-1 - International Students - is to provide guidance as to the action required to ensure eligibility for the international student. All international students must be declared eligible pursuant to Bylaw 4-8-1.
Bylaw 4-8-1 reads as follows:
For the purpose of this bylaw, an international student is a student who is not a United States citizen and who is in Ohio receiving education in an Ohio school. International students are ineligible for interscholastic athletics in Ohio unless they can meet one of the exceptions below.
EXCEPTION 1: An international student may be declared eligible if at least one of the student’s parents (biological or adoptive) resides in Ohio, and the international student is enrolled and attending an Ohio member school. The student is ineligible until ruled eligible by the Executive Director’s office.
Note: Students who transfer into an Ohio high school under this international exception must adhere to transfer bylaw 4-7-2.
TO REQUEST A RULING:
The Principal or other administrator shall submit a letter to either Roxanne Price or Deborah Moore listing all international students who are attending that school during the current year and wish to participate in interscholastic athletics. The letter serves as verification that the parents, who are not US citizens, are legal residents of Ohio and that the students have not participated in an interscholastic sport in the 12 months immediately preceding their transfer, if applicable. For students whose parents remain residents of Ohio, it is necessary to obtain a ruling only one time during that student’s participation in an Ohio high school or 7-8th grade school.
Note: Students who have dual citizenship do not require a ruling under Bylaw 4-8. However, students with a green card (non-citizens) do require a ruling. If the parents are moving into a district in Ohio from another school district, then transfer bylaw 4-7-2 exception one may apply. Click here to read that guidance: http://www.ohsaa.org/Portals/0/Eligibility/4-7-2Guidance_Exc1.pdf
EXCEPTION 2: The international student who is a participant in a recognized visitor exchange program may be eligible for interscholastic athletics subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth below:
EXCEPTION 3: A student from a country or province outside the United States may be declared eligible for interscholastic athletics upon the submission of a court-approved document certifying the student’s adoption by a legal resident of the school district in which the student is attending. The student is not eligible until declared eligible by the Executive Director upon submission of the appropriate court documents
EXCEPTION 4 – An international student may be declared eligible if his or her participation is mandated by state law.
Please review the memo explaining this process here http://www.ohsaa.org/Portals/0/Eligibility/forms/FEmemo.pdf. To secure a ruling, please complete the form, sign and send via email to Molly Downard at firstname.lastname@example.org . The form that shall be used is found here http://www.ohsaa.org/Portals/0/Eligibility/forms/FEcert.pdf Please also include the student’s Form I-20 which is found here http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/student-forms?form=Forms_I-20 . When the principal or other senior administrator signs off on this OHSAA form, that signature indicates personal verification of each of the requirements, including the student’s possession of the F1 visa and the Form 1-20.
An Ohio student returning from an international exchange program may resume interscholastic competition in the same Ohio member school from which the student left provided the student meets all requirements relative to age, semesters of eligibility as well as preceding grading period scholastic requirements upon return to the member high school.
These requirements mean that the student shall be considered to have used semesters of eligibility while studying abroad, and shall have received passing grades which count toward graduation in a minimum of five one credit courses or the equivalent in the final grading period of the exchange program (Bylaw 4-4-1). Such a student is ineligible until ruled eligible by the Executive Director’s office.
However, if a student intends to audit all course work while engaged in the international exchange program and thus receive no credit for the experience, the Executive Director’s office may consider restoration of academic and/or semester eligibility upon return to the same high school under the following conditions: