Senate passes Tim Tebow Bill allowing home-school athletes playing in UIL

(Aug. 17, 2012 - Source: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images North America)

After a longstanding ban under legislation approved Wednesday by the Texas Senate, home-school athletes would be allowed to play in University Interscholastic League (UIL) games.

Image Credit - Drew Hallowell/Getty Images North America

Senate Bill 640, which passed by a vote of 23-8, would end the UIL's years-long ban on home-schooled students from playing with public school teammates. It still needs to pass the Texas House.

Under the new law, public schools participating in UIL would be required to provide home-schooled students eligible to participate in league activities with the opportunity to do so. They could audition, try-out and compete for positions and roles in extracurricular activities at their local school.

According to the bill's author, Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, there are now more than 350,000 home-school students in Texas.

Supporters said sports participation is often a key part of community building for their children. But as their kids get older, options become more limited and they are often excluded as they age out of Little League and their peers move on to public-school teams.

Home school students would be required to comply with school policies before they could participate, and demonstrate academic proficiency on standardized tests to verify that they are passing at grade level.

When the UIL was created in 1913 to organize extracurricular activities for Texas students, home-school athletes were allowed to participate, along with public and private school students. They were later banned.

The bill is similar to the legislation that failed to pass two years ago, which was referred to as the Tim Tebow Bill because the football star was home-schooled.

The measure now goes to the House for consideration.

Image Credit - Drew Hallowell/Getty Images North America

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