1. What is the mission of FHSAA?
The Fairfax Home School Athletic Association (FHSAA) seeks to glorify Jesus Christ by serving home schooling athletes and families through competitive sports.
2. What are the core values of FHSAA?
The mission of FHSAA is accomplished through four core values:
- Spiritual Foundation -- FHSAA is a Christ-centered organization that operates on Biblical principles (Hebrews 12:1). FHSAA comes alongside players, coaches, and families to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14).
- Coaching Driven -- FHSAA Coaches are held to high standards through rigorous application and review processes. Coaches are equipped to develop in-depth sports specific knowledge enabling excellence in developmental training, effective motivation methods and non-performance-based encouragement of athletes.
- Player Focused -- FHSAA provides athletes with top-quality training and competitive sports opportunities that enable them to excel in their athletic pursuits (Colossians 3:23). FHSAA equips and encourages athletes in the pursuit of Godly character (Proverbs 22:6).
- Operational Excellence -- FHSAA seeks to model integrity, transparency, and stability in its finances, communications, and administration realizing that whatever we do, “in word or deed, [we] do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17).
3. Are FHSAA teams recreational or competitive?
Northern Virginia offers a wide variety of recreational sports opportunities in which homeschool families can participate, however, homeschoolers are legally excluded from public school sports teams. Therefore, FHSAA strives to provide athletes with a competitive sports environment where they can develop and hone their skills and compete against private middle schools and high schools teams at a high level. By both mission and practice, FHSAA is not designed to serve as a recreational sports organization.
4. Is the amount of playing time my son or daughter will receive promised or guaranteed by FHSAA?
Because of the nature of competitive sports, playing time cannot be guaranteed for any player on any FHSAA team. Coaches have the responsibility to put the players in the game that they believe will help the team perform at its best based on individual game situations. This competitive environment means that some players will not have the opportunity to play in some games.
5. Who is eligible to participate as a player on an FHSAA team?
Grade level when homeschooling is typically a personal decision based on many factors, therefore when initially registering a player, a parent should choose the grade level based on the number of years remaining before they expect their player to graduate from high school. For example if their player is expected to graduate in 4 years then the player is considered to be in ninth grade.
In order for FHSAA athletes to be held to similar standards with the leagues we participate in and other schools we compete against, FHSAA has developed a policy pertaining to grades and request for appeals which can be found at this LINK.
In order for an athlete to be eligible to play for FHSAA, the athlete must not have participated in any organization's graduation ceremony or been recognized as a high school graduate.
Athletes who attend a private school may play with FHSAA if eligible AND their participation is necessary to fill a team's roster. However, first consideration will be given to homeschooled athletes. An athlete rostered on an FHSAA team is committed to FHSAA and may not play any sport offered by FHSAA for another homeschool organization or NVIAC school for the remainder of the current school year.
Public School Students are not allowed to play on FHSAA teams. Your student must be registered as homeschool student in accordance with the requirements of your jurisdiction.
6. At what team level – middle school, junior varsity, or varsity – is a player eligible to participate on an FHSAA team?
A player’s level of eligibility with FHSAA is determined by both their age and grade. A player’s age is based on the birth date supplied to FHSAA by the parents. A player who turns 19 years of age prior to August 1 of the upcoming school year is not eligible to play on an FHSAA team. Additionally, a player who turns 15 years of age prior to August 1 of the upcoming school year is not eligible to play on a middle school team. Additionally, a player in ninth grade or above is not eligible to play on a middle school team and a player in twelfth grade is not eligible to play on a junior varsity team. With parental and coach approval, a player in middle school is eligible to "play up" on an FHSAA junior varsity or varsity team.
Grade level when homeschooling is typically a personal decision based on many factors, therefore when initially registering a player, you should choose the grade level based on the number of years remaining before you expect your player to graduate from high school. For example if your player is expected to graduate in 4 years then the player is considered to be in ninth grade.
Once a player is registered in FHSAA’s website database, the system keeps track of a player’s grade level. Each year a player’s grade is incrementally raised by one grade per year by FHSAA’s system, and cannot be changed. This means if a player is initially registered as an eighth grader, the next year they will be considered a ninth grader and will be ineligible to participate on a middle school team, even though by age they might still be qualified for a middle school team.
7. On how many FHSAA teams is a player eligible to participate?
The number of teams that an FHSAA player may participate on is not limited. There will be some overlapping seasons between one team starting conditioning/tryouts and another team completing a season, so parents have full responsibility for communicating these scheduling situations to coaches and coaches are encouraged to make allowances for these circumstances. When a player elects to participate in more than one FHSAA team sport during the same season (example Girls’ Softball and Girls’ Soccer in the spring) both coaches should be informed of this situation before tryouts occur. And no coach is obligated to accept a player on a team who will not attend the vast majority of practices and games.
8. Does everyone who will try-out for an FHSAA team make the team?
FHSAA attempts to put the very best team possible on the court or field for each sport. Therefore, coaches are encouraged to hold tryouts and keep only the players that the coach believes will contribute to the team’s success. Most FHSAA teams cut some players at the conclusion of pre-season tryouts.
9. What should I do if my player cannot attend a game or a team practice?
Participation on an FHSAA team involves a very high level of commitment and absences from practices and games should be a rare occurrence. However, if a player must miss a scheduled event he or she should always tell their coach ahead of time. Practices are the place where skills are taught and team strategy developed. Not attending practices severely limits a player’s ability to effectively participate in game situations. Players who do not attend games severely compromise the effectiveness of the entire team.
10. What does the pre-season fee pay for?
In order for a player to participate in conditioning sessions or to try out for an FHSAA team, the player must be registered on the FHSAA website and pay the pre-season fee. This fee covers facility rental, liability insurance, and supplemental medical insurance and is not refundable. Some venues used by FHSAA require insurance coverage in order for us to use their facilities.
11. How much are the season fees to participate on an FHSAA team?
Before the season begins, coaches submit a budget to the board for approval of season expenses and fees. Built into this budget are facility costs, referee fees, administrative overhead, team equipment, and in many cases tournament fees and a uniform replacement escrow. Because these costs can vary widely by the sport and by the number of players and scheduled games for a team, families will typically be informed of the season fees soon after the team tryouts. Coaches are encouraged to set deadlines within two weeks of final rosters being set. Deadline dates and full payment must be made no later than one week before the first game. Each coach will set and communicate the deadline date for each team. Players with unpaid balances are not eligible to participate in games or practices.
12. Does FHSAA offer scholarships or multi-player discounts?
In general, FHSAA does not offer family discounts or scholarships. The organization operates on a pretty simple financial model such that team costs are divided evenly between the players for each team. As a general rule, FHSAA does not have significant funding sources beyond the basic season fees. However, due to the remarkable generosity of an FHSAA family, we presently have a second or later sibling $25 per athlete for the 2022-2023 sports year. This discount program will not continue into the 2023-2024 sports year unless a similar sponsor / donation emerges.
A family may request a hardship provision by petitioning the FHSAA Board for a payment plan to be considered by the FHSAA Board by placing a request through the head coach of their team.
13. What behaviors during games and practices are expected by players, coaches, parents, and spectators?
To participate in FHSAA, all players, coaches, and parents agree to follow the FHSAA Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct includes the following points.
- We shall try to discern what is pleasing to God and exhibit behavior on and off the field/court which will glorify Jesus Christ.
- We shall not take part in any derogatory or taunting activity. This includes foul language, profane gestures, verbal attempts to distract or provoke opponents, sexual innuendos, “trash talk,” and tearing down of teammates, opponents, or others.
- We shall treat the officials, opposing teams, cheerleaders, and spectators with respect.
- We shall address officials’ decisions in a respectful manner (words, tone of voice, facial expressions).
- We shall respect the property and reputation of our opponents as well as that of our own facilities.
- We shall not take part in or be party to any form of violence.
- We shall encourage aggressive (hard-working) play, but not tolerate dangerous or out-of-control play.
- We shall address disputes in a Godly manner as soon as possible between the parties involved.
- We shall respect the decisions of our coaches and be teachable at practice, games, and all FHSAA activities. Parents and spectators are expected to refrain from coaching players during games.
- We acknowledge that a players’ use of illegal or performance-enhancing drugs or alcohol will not be tolerated and is grounds for dismissal from all FHSAA programs.
- We acknowledge that, for players to participate in practices and games, all fees and required paperwork must be submitted to FHSAA on schedule.
14. Are FHSAA athletic events open to spectators?
Parents and siblings are welcome to observe any team athletic event (practices and games, as well as special events including scrimmages and team camps) in entirety or as desired, within the following guidelines:
- Children must remain with a parent at all times. No unattended children are permitted at event facilities.
- Only coaches and assistant coaches may run a practice/game or other athletic event.
- Only registered athletes, coaches, and trainers may participate within the playing surface boundaries.
- Observers are asked to refrain from individual communication with athletes and coaches while events (including all types of practices and games) are taking place, so that all participants can remain focused.
- Spectators who materially interfere with the operation of an event may be asked to leave the event. Any such incident will be reported to the Board.
These guidelines apply to all events (including those hosted by other organizations) in which FHS is a participant.
15. How is FHSAA governed?
FHSAA is governed by a Board of Directors listed on the home page of our website. Candidates for board seats come from members in good standing with the organization. Board members serve three year terms and board member terms are staggered so that at most two seats are up for election each year. The board is responsible for maintaining the overall policy and direction of the organization.
16. What are the steps I should take to resolve a conflict with a team member, team family, or coach?
Competitive sports can be an environment where conflicts and disagreements can easily arise. FHSAA is committed to resolving conflicts in accordance with the 18th chapter of Matthew. So we encourage coaches, players, and parents to try to resolve disagreements through direct dialog with the individual(s) and/or parent(s) with whom there is a disagreement. If these attempts to resolve a conflict have been unsuccessful, the problem can be shared with a member of the FHSAA board for review and input. Finally, if the conflict remains unresolved, the issue can be submitted to the entire FHSAA board for resolution.
17. Do coaches, board members, or the athletic director get paid for their work?
FHSAA is a volunteer-driven organization. Board members and coaches are not paid for their service. Because of the major time commitment required for the role, the athletic director receives a monthly stipend.
18. How are coaches appointed and evaluated by the FHSAA board?
In order to create a safe and high quality program, FHSAA has established a thorough review system for appointing and retaining coaches. Prospective team coaches and assistant coaches must complete a detailed application, agree to the FHSAA Statement of Faith and the Coach's Code of Conduct, be interviewed by the FHSAA Board of Directors, provide letters of reference, and undergo a third party background check. Furthermore, at the completion of each season, coaches’ evaluations are requested from the participating families and may be provided by other coaches and the Athletic Director. After the evaluations are reviewed by the Board and if the original appointment requirements continue to be met, coaches can be re-appointed for the following season. If a coach is not re-appointed, the families of the team will be notified and the coach will be offered an opportunity to meet with the Board to discuss the decision. FHSAA will not make public the issues or reasons behind personnel decisions made by the Board unless legally required to do so.
19. Who needs to go through a third party background check to be involved with FHSAA or an FHSAA team?
The safety of our players and families is a top priority for FHSAA. Therefore, anyone over the age of 18 who will be directing or in a position of authority over players on an FHSAA team as a coach, assistant coach, team manager, or trainer must undergo a third-party background check, through an independent firm under contract with FHSAA, before they begin their role with an FHSAA team. In addition, FHSAA board members and the athletic director must also go through a bi-annual background check.
20. What additional volunteer time is requested from parents of players?
FHSAA is an all-volunteer organization and requires the generous service of members to function effectively. Volunteers are regularly needed for organization wide roles like fundraising and webmaster, and for team positions including coaches, team administrative managers, field preparation, scorebooks, and first aid. There is not a proscribed hourly volunteer requirement for members, but there is a need and expectation that family members will pitch in to help the association and teams on which their players participate.
21. Who should be notified if a player is injured in a game or practice?
If a player is injured, communication between the coach, player, and parents is critical. Players and parents should notify the coach of any injury or illness that will prevent a player from participating in team activities. If the coach observes the injury, the coach will notify the parents. After a serious injury or illness, the coach may require a physician's note in order for a player to once again participate in practices or games.
22. What role do parents play in FHSAA?
FHSAA recognizes and fully supports a player’s parents as the God given authority in their lives. The board, athletic director, and coaches seek to support the position and role of parents in raising and homeschooling their children.
23. What leagues does FHSAA participate in?
FHSAA participates in three leagues: Northern Virginia Independent Athletic Conference (NVIAC), Virginia Home School Athletic Association, and Old Line Baseball League. Up to date listings of teams, standings, and tournament information can be found on the NVIAC website (http://nviac.com). In addition, FHSAA teams play a wide variety of other teams outside of these leagues.
24. How does FHSAA protect against the inappropriate use of our organization’s logo?
FHSAA has added a © Copyright to the Hawks logo and developed an approval process to prevent it from being used to imply endorsement for events or messages that are not consistent with our mission and values. The logo may be used by teams and FHSAA members with prior approval of the message and graphics by the FHSAA President or Vice President.
25. How does FHSAA honor those who display outstanding Christian Character?
The Susie Miller Christian Character Award is named after the founder of our organization and is presented by FHSAA in recognition of an individual or team who demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship, exemplary behavior, or exceptional service to others. Recipients of this award may be players, coaches, parents, officials, or volunteers who exhibit these traits as participants in FHSAA. Nominations for the award may be made at any time before April 30th to the President of FHSAA. The award is presented each year at the FHSAA Annual Meeting.
Provided 18 February 2013 and updated 27 April 2014, 7 July 2014, 10 January 2015, 24 March 2015; 1 August 2015, 1 August 2019, 19 September 2020, 16 June 2022, 17 October, 2022, and 17 January, 2023.