No one would be talking about Tim Tebow’s football excellence had the Florida legislature acted differently when Tebow was nine years old. In 1996 the legislature allowed home-schooled students like Tebow to participate in local public school sports programs.
In high school, Pro Bowl line-backer Jason Taylor also benefited from such home-school friendly policies. But in college the NCAA revoked Taylor’s football scholarship for reasons related to his home schooling. In 1994 he successfully challenged the decision and regained the scholarship. After this case, reports ESPN, the NCAA streamlined eligibility requirements for home-schooled athletes.
In a 2007 ESPN interview, Taylor spoke out in support equal access for home-schooled athletes: “It’s important to let the kids know, and the people who are holding the kids back know, that there’s a lot of kids with a lot of potential. … They just need a chance. … It’s a problem when you have sixteen states in our country that say it’s OK to play and the other 34 still have a problem with it. … Look, the parents are still paying tax dollars. If [the students] can’t play in the school system, then give the tax money back.”
The Tebow family has lent their name to TimTebowBIll.com, which advocates legislation “to allow homeschooled students equal access to sports and extracurricular activities” in Alabama. According to the site, Colorado is among 24 states that now allow equal access, while 15 have introduced legislation.