The Tebow Bill advocated for home-schooled students to play sports at public high schools in Virginia (Davis, 2012). The bill was named after Tim Tebow, the current starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (Davis, 2012). Tebow was home-schooled in Florida, where some argued he handpicked which local school he played for in football (Davis, 2012).
This past Friday, the bill was turned down in an 8-7 vote at the Senate Education and Health Committee (Davis, 2012). The bill would have allowed home-schoolers to try out not only for sports, but also for debate teams, forensics, among other extra-curricular activities sponsored by the Virginia High School League (Davis, 2012). Currently, the VHSL does not allow home-schooled students compete at the high school level (Davis, 2012).
The major advantage of the Tebow Bill for home-schooled high school students would be that they would have greater exposure to college scouts to attain college scholarships, like Tim Tebow had done (Davis, 2012). Proponents added that parents of home-schooled students pay the same taxes that support local schools and that these students should not be shut out of these activities (Davis, 2012).
Opponents, however, were concerned about where the line was drawn if home-schooled students were allowed to play public school sports. Opponents were worried that parents would start “cherry-picking” what they wanted from public schools (i.e., access to science labs, orchestra equipment, etc.), (Davis, 2012).
Since the current law is state-based, it has affected home-schooled students who move from state to state. One girl testified at the hearing that she was devastated that all of a sudden she was unable to play high school sports when she moved from Florida to Virginia (Davis, 2012).
If this bill had more specific restrictions, I believe it is more likely that it would have been passed in the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee. We had discussed in class how a lot of cases build upon other major cases before they are able to be passed. The governing system also cannot provide the solution (i.e., the possible restrictions of the Tebow Bill), but rather rule whether the bill is passed or not.
One restriction that could have been developed for the Tebow Bill counters the opponents’ main argument: a home-schooled student would be restricted to play sports only in their assigned school district, rather than “cherry-pick” their preferred school. If a family pays the same taxes in that school district, why would their student not be eligible to play sports at their designated school?
Another argument opponents gave is that home-schooled students did not have as rigorous a schedule as public school students. This should not have even been considered as an argument against the bill. If students fail to show up for practice on time, or fail to attend games, the punishment can easily be dismissal from the team, just as it would be for any student.
Davis, C. (2012, March 2). ‘Tebow Bill’ Dies in Senate. The Free Lance-Star, pp. 1-2.