An Oklahoma government-supported university is working with a local grassroots homeschooling athletics organization to give home-educated children in the region the opportunity to play organized league sports with other home-educated teams.
In March, the Northeast Oklahoma Association of Homeschools (NOAH), “a homeschool organization with the specific objective of providing athletic and educational services to the homeschooling community,” entered into an agreement with Rogers State University (RSU), a regional four-year university in northeastern Oklahoma, to allow NOAH’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams to hold “home” matches at the college’s soccer venue, Soldier Field.
Derek Larkin, the head coach for the men’s soccer team at Roger State University, says the deal is a win-win for the university and area home-educated children.
“NOAH came to RSU and asked about the possibility of the soccer clubs using the field,” Larkin said. “The groups rent the facility for a reasonable price, and the kids get to play at a state-of-the-art facility, which is pretty cool for them,” Larkin said. “It allows us to get students and families on our campus to check us out.”
‘All About the Kids’
Larkin says the deal is ultimately all about helping the area’s children.
“It’s great that we can partner with anyone and help the kids, because it’s all about the kids,” Larkin said.
‘Makes Perfect Sense’
Brandon Dutcher, senior vice president at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, says the agreement between NOAH and RSU shows how government officials can use common sense to save taxpayers’ money.
“It’s encouraging to see homeschooled students and their parents—who are, let us remember, taxpayers—getting the opportunity to use public facilities,” Dutcher said. “That’s a lot of money that policymakers can now use to spend on things like health care, roads and bridges, and higher-education institutions such as Rogers State University. I think the partnership between the homeschoolers and RSU makes perfect sense.”
Dutcher says the deal also shows how government school officials can promote a sense of togetherness in their communities.
“Letting citizens use their facilities is one small way school officials can do that [promote community spirit] and demonstrate added value to the community,” Dutcher said.
Jenni White ([email protected]) writes from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.