HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) - Should home-schooled students in Alabama get to play and compete for their local high schools? It's a question state lawmakers will review once again, thanks to a bill named after one of the SEC's all-time greats.
Senate Bill 186, better known as the "Tim Tebow Act", would erase the barrier that currently exists between home-schooled students and public high schools in Alabama. The Tebow Act would allow home-schoolers to play as long as they're good enough to make the team.
Alabama is one of 25 states that still bar home-schoolers from playing for their local high public high school, with lawmakers staunchly rejecting similar legislation in the past. Tim Tebow famously won the Heisman Trophy and two national championships during his time at the University of Florida, but those honors were preceded by Tebow's performance as a home-schooler when he led his public high school football team in Florida to a state championship.
"I think it's all about opportunity," said Huntsville resident Kelly Blasingame, one of several area home-school parents pushing for the bill. "In Florida, Georgia and Tennessee you can be a home-schooler and participate in high school sports, and I think Alabama could be a little bit behind the times. I'm hoping that this year it will go through."
The Tebow bill has been killed in past years, thanks to opposition from the Alabama High School Athletic Association and several area school boards. They argue it would take away team slots from public school students, while also citing concerns that home-schoolers would not be required to meet the same academic criteria.
This year's version of the Tebow bill is being sponsored by State Sen. Shadrack McGill (R-Scottsboro). The legislation is awaiting a vote in the Senate Education Committee, and includes a provision that would require home-schoolers to abide by the same code of conduct that governs their public school teammates.