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House moving its own Tebow bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House of Delegates is moving its own Tim Tebow bill that includes a few key differences from the bill the Senate passed earlier this session.

The bill, HB 3127, was approved by the House Education Committee on a voice vote Tuesday morning. It would allow home school students to play public school sports if certain requirements are met.

Bernie Dolan

To be eligible, a home school student would have to show academic progress on a standardized test, be enrolled in one virtual school course through their county school system or state Department of Education along with meeting age and other eligibility requirements.

The student would only be eligible to play for a school in his or her attendance zone. If the student is in pubic school and then transfers to home school they would have to sit out a year.

“This bill would keep you from participating for 365 days, or one year, which is basically what our transfer rule is,” West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission Executive Director Bernie Dolan told the committee. “That’s a strong statement that says if you’re going to leave (public school) to try and circumvent the rule, this rule is going to pick you up.”

Joe Ellington

Currently the SSAC allows virtual school students to participate in sports if they take four virtual classes. Dolan said reducing it to one in the House bill was a compromise to get the transfer language in the bill.

House Education Committee Chairman Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, said the bill is simpler than the Senate-passed Tebow bill, SB 31, which would also allow students in non-SSAC private schools to play public school sports.

“I don’t know how successful that would be (in the House),” Ellington said Tuesday. “This gives another option so that population of students can participate.”

The bill now heads to the House floor.

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