Physical Education Waiver Requirements

The physical education waiver policy allows high school students to be excused from taking physical education as a graduation requirement per Ohio Revised Code 3313.603.
The board of education of each school district and the governing authority of each chartered nonpublic school may adopt a policy to excuse from the high school physical education requirement each student who, during high school, has participated in interscholastic athletics, marching band, show choir or cheerleading for at least two full seasons or an approved Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program for two years. If the board or authority adopts such a policy, the board or authority shall not require the student to complete any Physical Education course as a condition to graduate. However, the student shall be required to complete one-half unit, consisting of at least 60 hours of instruction, in another course of study.


Local school boards:

  • Shall adopt a waiver policy that outlines which interscholastic sports and/or activities qualify.
  • Shall communicate the waiver process and application for students.


  • Shall approve student applications for the physical education waiver.
  • Are responsible for ensuring students understand graduation requirements when using the physical education waiver.
A district or school cannot
  • Add any activities to the waiver that are not specified.
  • Choose only particular activities that are specified in legislation.
  • Lessen the requirements or award a partial waiver.
  • Award any credit for the waiver.
  • Apply the waiver policy retroactively. The waiver policy goes into effect the date of the district’s board approval and students may not use it for seasons prior to the board approved date.


  • Students must fulfill two seasons of interscholastic sport or activity as outlined in the district’s waiver policy.
    • If a student does not take two seasons, the student must complete 120 hours of physical education.
    • Students can participate in different activities in different seasons.
    • Credit for the waiver does not qualify if a student only chooses one sport/activity and general physical education course.
    • Students may participate in two seasons in the following legislated activities: 
      • interscholastic athletics
      • marching band (including all auxiliary groups associated with the marching band)
      • show choir
      • cheerleading
  • Once a student fulfills the waiver policy requirements:
    • The student cannot receive state graduation credit for physical education.
    • To receive graduation credit, students must rescind their waiver.
    • Students satisfying the physical education waiver must take an additional .5 unit course of study of at least 60 hours of instruction.
    • The .5 unit cannot be in physical education, including physical education electives.
    • The student still must complete 20 graduation credits; however, they now must complete .5 elective credits that are clarified in the graduation requirements.
    • The student may not split the waiver and a physical education class.
    • These students should not be submitted for the physical education evaluations in the 9-12 grade band.

Interscholastic Athletic Teams

To be considered an interscholastic athletic team, the team must be a student activity program that a school or school district sponsors or participates in that includes participants from more than one school or school district and does not include an activity included in a graded course of study.
The interscholastic team must:
  • Represent the school (all participants must also be from the school rather than from any school within the district).
  • Be organized and supervised by the school (e.g., the coach is hired by the school, the school runs the team, all school athletic policies and consequences apply, etc.).
  • Be fully funded by the school (the school has financial responsibility for the team, pays for the coach, cost of transportation, etc.).
  • Compete against other school-based teams throughout a full season.
Please see 2021-2022 OHSAA Handbook and OHSAA Sports Regulations for more information.

Physical Education Waiver Considerations

  • Seasons are not determined by length of time but rather by how they are scheduled. One season of a sport may be different than one season of an activity.
    • For example, a student taking football in the fall would qualify as one season. Another student participating in marching band for the year would qualify as one season.
  • The seasons must be completed while the student is in high school.
    • Students taking high school physical education credit in grade 8 are not eligible for the waiver.
  • Alternatively, the student may participate in two full school years of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
  • For more information and guidance, please see PE Waiver FAQ.

Last Modified: 9/5/2023 12:54:22 PM