CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission is against a bill that would open sports and other extracurricular activities at public schools and some private schools to home-schooled students.

“It’s hard for us to have somebody representing the school who doesn’t really go to the school,” said Bernie Dolan, executive director of SSAC, on MetroNews affiliate WMOV Radio in Ravenswood.

As proposed, HB 2196 would allow home-schooled students or those taught by private tutors to try out for teams or groups alongside public school students.

Supporters say the bill allows home-schooled students the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities who typically would not be guaranteed spots on teams or organization in their local districts.

Opponents, like the SSAC, say students who wear the school name on a uniform should go to that school.

Dolan said he’s talked with school principals and athletic directors who share the same concerns.

“They feel like if you’re representing the school, you should come there,” he said. “Right now you can go four periods a day and be eligible and at least you’d be part of that school community.”

Dolan said there would also be academic eligibility issues if the bill passed. He said it’s difficult to compare GPAs between a home-schooled student and a public school student.

“They want to participate so they have to keep their grades up and we worry that this might be something that might limit the effectiveness of the 2.0 (GPA),” he said.

A similar bill, known as the Tim Tebow Act, failed in the House of Delegates last year after clearing the Senate. The bill was named after Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner and home-schooled student in Jacksonville, Fla. who gained the “Mr. Football” title for leading Nease High School to the state championship game.

This year’s bill is before the Senate Education Committee. It passed the House on a 60-38 vote.

Saturday is the last day of the 2017 Regular Legislative Session.

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