Former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow was able to play football for his local public school in Florida while being homeschooled.
Tebow, the Heisman winner, two-time national champion, and first round draft pick, made international news most recently when he proposed to Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, a former Miss Universe.
Florida is one of about three dozen states that allow homeschool students to play sports for their local high school. Some states have enacted this policy through legislation. In other instances, state high school athletic associations have put this policy in place. The Alabama High School Athletic Association recently made such a change.
Though the policies may vary, the intention is similar: just because you are homeschooled does not mean you can’t play sports for your local high school that your taxes are funding.
Every neighboring state permits homeschool students to play high school sports. Mississippi stands out as the only state that does not.
Over the past several years, including this year already, various bills have been introduced in the legislature to make this change. Only once has such a bill made it out of committee and it was killed on the Senate floor thanks in large part to an odd coalition of opponents that included the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). HSLDA normally take a neutral position on “Tebow bills,” but believed that particular legislation threatened the academic freedom of all homeschoolers.
Homeschoolers in Mississippi enjoy a high level of academic freedom. Something that upsets many people in both parties. In an effort to preserve what homeschoolers have already “won” in Mississippi, it doesn’t look like any changes will be made to the homeschooling code sections any time soon.
At least not until a Tim Tebow comes on the scene in Mississippi.