The state of Virginia has moved one step closer to allowing homeschooled students to play sports at public schools in the state. On February 8 the state’s House of Delegates passed H.B. 947, also known as the “Tim Tebow law,” because it is similar to a measure passed by the state of Florida that allowed the Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback, then a homeschooled student, to play high school football.
While studies have demonstrated that home schooling offers many academic advantages over public and private schools, one drawback has been that homeschooled kids are often locked out of involvement in organized varsity sports. The Virginia law, like the one implemented in Florida and several other states, is intended to address that issue.
John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute said that the bill would bring equality to homeschooled students who have the same desires and goals as traditional students, but whose families choose to educate them at home. “The chance to compete with one’s peers, to fully develop one’s potential, and to perhaps earn a scholarship to attend an institution of higher learning that might otherwise not be within a family’s reach should be available to all Virginia students, including homeschooled students,” Whitehead said of the legislation. “H.B. 947 is a long-overdue and much-needed acknowledgment by the Commonwealth of Virginia that homeschooled students are an equal and valued part of our communities and should be allowed to share their talents with their respective communities.”
Opponents of the bill, including the Virginia High School League, argue that the measure could endanger the entire structure of high school athletics in the state.
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