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What are the rules about participation in interscholastic athletics for foreign and exchange students and where are those rules?

Answer: 

256--Iowa Administrative Code 46 states that a foreign exchange student is immediately eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics if the student is enrolled in an Iowa school or school district and is otherwise eligible to participate (i.e., age, academics, good conduct, and in possession of an appropriate physical examination) UNLESS the student is in the U.S. primarily for purposes of participating in athletics. A 2006 amendment to the law added the requirement that a foreign exchange student who attends school "for primarily athletic purposes" is also subject to the 90 school days of ineligibility to participate at the varsity level. Only those students here on J-1 visas are foreign exchange students. This is not true of a non-exchange foreign student. If a non-exchange student (typically on an F1 visa) is in a school or school district without his or her family, the student is ineligible to compete in interscholastic athletics for 90 consecutive school days. See also 281- Iowa Administrative Code 36.15(3). The 90 day period of ineligibility applies only to interscholastic sports. It does not apply to interscholastic speech or music competitions. This answer deals exclusively with non-immigrant students; that is, students who are not residents of the United States and who are in this country temporarily. If a student who is not a citizen of the United States nevertheless lives in Iowa with his or her parents, the school district of residence is required to provide a tuition-free education to that student. This is true even if the parents of the student are in this country illegally. See Supreme Court's 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 102 S.Ct. 2382, 72 L.Ed.2d 786 (1982).

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 19, 2014 at 3:32pm.