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Indiana Athletic Association to Allow Homeschooled Student-Athletes

The Indiana High School Athletic Association decided on Monday to allow homeschooled students to compete on public school sports teams starting in the 2013-14 school year.

The IHSAA board of directors unanimously approved the change, which requires homeschooled students to meet a handful of conditions in order to be eligible for sports. The students must be homeschooled for the previous three consecutive years, complete all statewide examinations from the Indiana department of education, have their families submit grades to the public school where they participate in sports to prove that they're passing all classes, and be enrolled in the school for at least one class per day.

The Indiana General Assembly considered passing similar legislation in 2011, but never ended up doing so, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. A majority of states have some form of law governing what public school activities homeschooled students are allowed to take part in, according to a November 2012 brief from the Home School Legal Defense Association.

"Today, the IHSAA board of directors expanded the opportunity for additional high-school-aged students in our state to experience the values of education-based athletics," said IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox in a statement. "I am very pleased that the Board of Directors has embraced this concept as our association continues its pursuit of becoming more inclusive while maintaining appropriate academic standards."

More than 2 million students are homeschooled in the United States, according to the National Home Education Research Institute.

As noted by my colleague Gina Cairney last week, a so-called "Tebow bill" (which earns its nickname from former New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who was homeschooled in Florida but played football for a public school team) passed the Texas Senate on April 25 on a 21-7 vote. If approved by the state House, the bill would go into effect on Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed his state's "Tebow bill" into law back on April 19. It goes into effect on July 1 and will apply to participation in school sports starting in the 2013-14 school year.

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