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Va. Senate Committee Kills 'Tebow Bill' for Homeschooled Athletes

On a largely party line vote, the Virginia Senate and Health Committee voted down the "Tebow Bill" today, which would have allowed homeschooled high school athletes to participate in public school sports in the state, according to the Washington Post.

The bill, which had already passed the state House, earned its nickname from Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who played football at a public high school in Florida despite being homeschooled.

Had it been passed, it would have prevented high schools in the state from joining the Virginia High School League or any other organization that banned homeschooled students from participating in interscholastic programs. It also would have allowed high schools to charge homeschooled students "reasonable fees for participation" in sports.

Opponents of the bill, including the Virginia High School League, argued that homeschooled students aren't necessarily held to the same academic and disciplinary standards as traditional public school students. The VHSL requires public school students to attend and pass five classes per day in order to remain eligible for athletics.

Over 25 states have some form of law governing what public school activities homeschooled students can participate in, according to a brief from the Home School Legal Defense Association.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said earlier this year on a radio show that he would have supported the legislation had it reached his desk, according to the Post.

Now that the Senate committee has voted the legislation down, it's done for this legislative session. According to the WaPo, similar bills have been filed in Virginia ever since 2005, but appeared more likely to be passed this time around because Republicans had taken control of the General Assembly. (Only one Republican in the Senate committee voted against the bill.)

Instead, homeschooling advocates in Virginia will simply have to adopt the popular refrain of local Washington Redskins' fans: "There's always next year."

Want all the latest K-12 sports news? Follow @SchooledinSport on Twitter.

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