Does an IEP make a child ineligible for sports?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I was told that my child cannot participate in sports at school because he has an IEP. Isn’t this discrimination? 

Prohibiting a student from participating in a sport because he has a disability and an IEP is discrimination, and a violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 

There are exceptions.

If a child is missing an organ, courts have split about whether the child can be denied the opportunity to participate in a contact sport like football or wrestling. In these cases, the court tries to balance the need to protect the child from serious harm (or death) against the child’s right to participate in a sport. 

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
02/03/2021 5:35 pm

Q- my kid has an IEP with reading and math and extended time we we are virtually learning at this point and my child is in the 10th grade he really suffered 1st quarter and we are getting better in 2nd and 3rd quarter but they say he isn’t eligible to play baseball based on 1st & 2nd. Quarter grades but he has until 2/12 to make any work up but example he made a 92 on a large test that counts 60% of his grade but because he is turning it in late they will only allow him to get a max grade of 60 on it how is that fair to children like that and not even try to help them?

02/04/2021 12:19 pm
Reply to  Sam

“Blanket” rules are always a potential problem for students with disabilities. The teacher should have been monitoring assignments & working with you and your son to get things in. But that may not help him now. Check the district policies to see if it addresses situations like this for all students or those with disabilities. Ideally the school should know that virtual learning complicates things for everyone. I am sure your son appreciates you trying to resolve this.

01/22/2021 12:10 pm

My child has a IEP and was told by the basketball coach he couldn’t play because of his grades. Isn’t this punishment for not being able to do it? Is it legal?

09/16/2021 1:43 pm
Reply to  Donna

I’m experiencing the same thing. My child’s IEP has not been followed appropriately, and he has Fs in all of his classes. He was told he can’t compete with the cross country team (which is literally the most motivating thing for him) until the next grading period, even if he gets his grades up before then. It’s bad all the way around because if his behavior isn’t reinforced immediately, it’s not going to be successful as reinforcement. I don’t know what to do about it.

09/20/2021 3:48 pm
Reply to  Shannon

Shannon, I suggest you find out what the state rules on this are, if you have not already done so. The school is responsible for providing appropriate instruction to your child. His grades show that they are not doing this. It appears that his IEP needs to be reviewed, and modified. I suggest that you contact your state parent training and information project for information and help. .  

11/09/2020 2:42 pm

Hello my son has chronic migraines (he sees a neurologist yearly) he also has a congenital heart condition ( sees cardiologist bc of this and they cleared him) the coach cut him from the team bc he has missed 2 practices bc of health issues. Is that legal?

11/10/2020 2:08 pm
Reply to  Stephanie

Stephanie, that would depend on the rules of the state organization that governs public school athletics, & any policies the district might have. If any rule is not enforced evenly with all students in athletics, that could be discrimination.