Justice strikes down ‘Tebow bill’

Gov. Jim Justice, who coaches girls and boys basketball at Greenbrier East High, vetoed a bill that would have allowed home-schooled students to participate in athletics at nearby public schools.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice vetoed a bill that would have allowed home-schooled students to play sports at public schools in West Virginia.

The veto was posted Thursday on the legislature’s website without an accompanying message, though one was expected.

The original version of the HB 2196 only provided a path for home-schooled students to participate in public school athletics and extracurricular activities, but the Senate amended it to include kids from private or religious schools that don’t sponsor sports. That’s the version Justice considered and rejected.

The bill required all homeschooled and private school crossover athletes to meet academic progress standards, along with abiding by all West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission regulations for traditional students — including paying fees that are charged by some schools. The students could only play sports at a public school within their district.

The SSAC opposed to the bill.

“We just feel like it is going to create an opportunity for people to game the system,” SSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan told MetroNews.

Justice coaches girls and boys basketball at Greenbrier East High School.

The so-called “Tim Tebow Act” is named after the former Heisman Trophy winner, who was home-schooled in Jacksonville, Fla., but won the state’s Mr. Football award at Nease High School on his way to becoming one of the nation’s top recruits.

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