FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question:  If homeschoolers want to be a part of extracurricular activities, why don’t they just go to public schools?

Homeschoolers leave the traditional public school system for a wide variety of reasons, including academic difficulties, bullying and pursuit of a values-based education.  If this is the best thing for their educational advancement, we shouldn’t require them to attend traditional school just so they can play sports.  We should support the ability of parents to craft the optimal educational plan for their children.Tebow-Headline-crop 200

Question:  Why aren’t homeschooled students currently allowed to join public school sports teams?

In Virginia, the VHSL (Virginia High School League) organizes and regulates all interscholastic activities in Virginia’s public schools, including all competitive sports teams.  VHSL rules prevent public schools from allowing homeschoolers access to sports team, even if the local school division wants homeschoolers to participate.

Question:  Won’t the homeschoolers have special advantages?

To be eligible, the Tebow Bill required the homeschooler to be an amateur, under the age of 19, and compliant with all team rules.  The homeschooler had to demonstrate evidence of progress for two years, which includes standardized testing or an annual review by the school system.  (The two-year requirement is to ensure that a failing public school student would not be able to use this as a convenient way to keep playing sports.)

Question:  Won’t it adversely affect public school sports teams if some students aren’t walking the halls with their teammates every day?

Homeschooling is a mainstream educational choice, and many students go back and forth between the public school and homeschooling.  Homeschooled students already work and socialize with the public school kids – the “Tebow Bill” just lets them play sports together on Friday Night.  Indeed, schools already allow non-attending students to play sports – dual enrolled students who attend classes at the local community college need never enter the high school doors, but they are allowed to play sports with the team.

Question:  If we allow homeschooled students to try out for sports teams, will that give rise to recruiting concerns?

Homeschooled students would only be eligible to try out for sports teams at their local public school.  They would not be able to “shop” for high schools with exemplary athletic programs.  Likewise, public high schools would not be allowed to recruit athletically talented homeschoolers from outside their district.

Question:  Isn’t it unfair to take a slot from a student who attends the school?

Homeschooled students are not looking for a reserved slot or a quote, they just want to try out.  All of them are already eligible to attend the school and try out for the team; the only thing the current rule does is  require their parents to enroll them when the parents would prefer they be educated at home.  In any case, there are only an estimated 6,000 high school age home schooled students, and the impact on individual teams would be minimal.

Question:  What are the costs associated with homeschoolers playing on public school sports teams?

The “Tebow Bill” allows a local school division to charge homeschoolers with any reasonable fees associated with their participation in interscholastic programs.  (And, of course, homeschooling saves Virginia schools tens of millions of dollars in reduced school expenses.)

Question:  What if a locality doesn’t want the homeschoolers on the team?

Then the locality doesn’t have to let them play.  Current law is the opposite – even if a locality wants a homeschooler to play, he cannot because of the VHSL rules.  A homeschooler can participate through the 8th grade and can practice with the team, but cannot actually play.  The “Tebow Bill” would allow those localities that want to allow participation to do so.  It is our expectation that after a few years, the lack of any difficulties would encourage the other school districts to allow this as well.

Question:  Won’t homeschoolers have trouble fitting in with their teammates? 

Then the locality doesn’t have to let them play.  Current law is the opposite – even if a locality wants a homeschooler to play, he cannot because of the VHSL rules.  A homeschooler can participate through the 8th grade and can practice with the team, but cannot actually play.  The “Tebow Bill” would allow those localities that want to allow participation to do so.  It is our expectation that after a few years, the lack of any difficulties would encourage the other school districts to allow this as well.