Alabama to begin allowing home-schooled students on teams

The Alabama athletic association says it will begin allowing home-schooled athletes to play on public school sports teams by the 2016-17 school year, according to reports.

AHSAAThe Alabama legislature had been advancing a bill that would have mandated the participation by home-schooled athletes, but last month the Alabama High School Athletic Association decided to take matters into its own hands. The association’s Executive Director Steven Savarese sent a letter to legislators indicating the AHSAA would create the policy on its own without state intervention.

Lawmakers then brought the bill to a halt, determining it was better if the AHSAA created the policy without a statutory mandate.


(Previously) Savarese’s main complaint was students not enrolled in public schools won’t count towards the school’s classification (1A-7A).

The letter from Savarese states: “Per our conversation Wednesday, May 24, 2015, the AHSAA Central Board of Control commits to developing a home school bylaw allowing home schooled students the opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics within AHSAA member schools for the 2016-17 school year.”

There’s also the matter of academic compliance. Athletic association officials, not just in Alabama but other states considering participation by home-schooled students, argue it’s difficult to determine when a student is academically compliant to play sports if they’re not in the classroom. Perhaps giving themselves more than a year before implementation will allow officials to create guidelines on the issue.

The Alabama bill had been dubbed the “Tim Tebow Act,” after the Heisman-winning Florida quarterback who was home-schooled while playing sports at Nease High School near Jacksonville, Florida.

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