Ky. lawmakers could open doors to private school students

November 10, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Kentucky lawmakers are introducing legislation that would allow the state’s non-public school students to participate on public school sports teams.

khsaaThe bill is sponsored by 10 legislators and predictably does not have the support of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA). Proposals like these are often referred to as the “Tim Tebow bill.” The Heisman-winning quarterback was home-schooled in Florida but allowed to play on a public school football team because of a similar law.

But KHSAA officials say this proposal is much different. The “Tim Tebow bill” allows participation by home-schooled students, but the KHSAA argues that the bill, in its current form, would extend to private school students.

“This is much more than just a home school proposal,” KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said in a statement. “While nearly all of the efforts of our member schools have been about increasing participation opportunities, this proposal could literally have the impact of reducing participation by encouraging nonpublic schools to not offer certain sports for a variety of reasons, and simply allow those students to play for another public school.

“It is doubtful this was the author’s intent, but nonetheless, is a very literal possibility. The proposal also does not address any standards for home schooled instruction, which has been a previously identified problem with other proposals as it makes academic comparative equity virtually impossible without such standards.”

The bill is miles away from becoming law, so opponents have time to work with legislators to make amendments.

Kentucky considered a similar bill one year ago, but it didn’t have enough support. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the latest proposal has the backing of Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin.

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