The North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors approved language on Wednesday that it says is more inclusive for transgender students who identify as a gender other than the one listed on their birth certificate. The board also approved new rules and guidelines intended to make to eligibility of home school students for sports participation more uniform across the state.

"I think it's important for us to recognize that, in our handbook, we've always had a section that deals with the gender of players," NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said. "We need to be inclusive, and it's not just about the birth certificate necessarily."

According to HighSchoolOT.com, the NCHSAA policy begins by stating, "The NCHSAA allows participation in interscholastic athletics for all students, regardless of gender or gender identification. It is the intent that all students are able to compete on a level playing field in a safe, competitive and friendly environment, free of discrimination."

It goes on to set requirements for transgender participation. "When a student's gender identity differs from the gender listed on the student's certificate of birth, the Gender Identity Request Form must be submitted by the member school to the NCHSAA prior to any participation by the student under circumstances that would constitute ineligibility," the policy states. "The Request should be based on the gender identification of that student in current school records and daily life activities in the school and community."

Students who wish to submit a Gender Identity Request Form must provide a series of supporting documents, according to the HighSchoolOT.com report. Among them, contacts who can affirm the student's consistent gender identification, a list of treatments and medications relative to gender identity, interventions that have occurred relative to gender identity, written verification of gender identity from a medical professional, and any other documentation the student or parents believe is relevant.

At the same meeting Wednesday, a new policy passed by the board allows home school students who are enrolled in a public school to participate in athletics at that school if they take classes at the school for at least half the day. At least one of those classes must be on campus each semester.

Moreover, home school students must be registered with the home school for 365 days prior to being eligible to participate in NCHSAA athletics. This rule would prohibit students from leaving one high school, enrolling as a home school student, and immediately playing sports at another high school.

Home school students must also be academically eligible at the member school and maintain continuous dual enrollment. Academic eligibility for home school students means they are on grade level according to a nationally standardized achievement test and that they pass all courses taken at the public school.

Unenrollment would make the student ineligible for 365 days.

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.