Am I Eligible For Sports? Breaking Down NSAA Eligibility Requirements

Cadi Wilbeck

In order for any high school student to be able to participate in sports, they must meet the requirements provided by the NSAA, which stands for Nebraska School Activities Association. It sanctions athletic and non-athletic events in Nebraska high schools.


These eligibility rules are meant to hold scholar athletes to the highest standard possible, rather than to discourage students from competing. There are four areas that each student is evaluated in to be able to participate. These areas are academic, age, semester/season and domicile.


These excerpts are from the NSAA Eligibility Handbook, and are explained in the words of Southwest’s Athletic Director, Mr. Mark Armstrong.


Academic Requirements

NSAA Handbook: “Each student received twenty hours of credit the immediate preceding semester (unless a 9th grader).”


Armstrong: “This section is saying that a student wanting to participate must have been enrolled in three of the four blocks in a school-day, and passed them, during the previous semester. This policy is waived when students are ninth graders because there hasn’t been any prior opportunity for the student to gain high school credit.”



Age Requirements

NSAA: “The student must be under 19 years of age before August 1 of the current school year.”


Armstrong: “This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but if they are a senior and have gotten held back then they may not play for another season. We don’t want 19 year olds going against 14 year olds, that’s not fair.”



Semester and Season Limitation Requirement

NSAA: “The student must not have been enrolled in school eight or more semesters since initial enrollment in grade nine.”


Armstrong: “This basicallly means from the time that you start playing a sport as a freshman, you have eight semesters, which adds to four school years, that you can play. An example would be a tennis player that has played for three years, and is a junior. Let’s say they move down to a Florida high school and play another season of tennis. If they come back and try to play again as a senior, they would not be able to.”


Domicile Requirement

NSAA: “Did he/she attend the same high school?”


Armstrong: “This is asking if they are actually enrolled at the school they wish to play at.”


NSAA: “Did the student attend high school at another high school within your school district?”


Armstrong: “This is asking if the student has transfered in the last 90 days from another high school in the district. If they have, they are ineligible.”


NSAA: “Was the student’s residence located within another school district and entering a high school for the first time?”


Armstrong: “This basically asks if they live in another school district and are attending Southwest just because of athletic opportunities.”


Domicile relates to where the family of the student is living at the moment. The questions are asking where the student attended school previously, and if they attended a school that was not in their district.


The NSAA also uses caution when concerning parental custody. It evaluates which parent has custody, or if dual-custody is used. They take these factors into account when deciding if a student is elegible.


If the student does not live with one or both of their legal parents, it must be specified. Guardianship does not meet the definition of a legal parent.


Any student who meets these requirements is eligible for participating in any fall sport or activity, as long as their Enrollment Application was signed, filed and approved by May 1st of the year they wish to compete.


Compliance with NSAA’s rules will prevent the student’s team, school or community from being penalized and suspended.


For more information about the NSAA and its eligibility requirements, go to, or call at (402) 489-0386.