Coaches and athletic directors in Texas were busy calling their state representatives to stop proposed legislation that would have made it easier for home-schooled kids to participate in sports.

Rep. James Frank (R-Austin) had introduced House Bill 1324, which would have created equal opportunity access for home-schooled students, allowing them to participate in athletic or academic events “on behalf of the school in the same manner that the school provides the opportunity to participate to students enrolled in the school.”

The Texas High School Coaches Association urged coaches and athletic directors to contact their representatives to express opposition to the bill, and it worked. In a social media post, the THSCA wrote: ‘They have removed HB 1324 from consideration and WILL NOT EVEN be bringing it to a vote,’ along with the hashtags #YourVoiceIsStrong #UnitedForCoaches and #THSCAstrong.

“It got shot down and it needed to be shot down,” Longview athletic director John King told the Longview News-Journal. “The public school kids that we have are subject to state assessments, instructional guidelines, attendance requirements, practice limitations and a lot of other limitations that home school students don’t have.”

Citing literature from the THSCA, which also includes ‘home school students have multiple opportunities to participate in club sports, summer sports and excellent academic competitions organized by multiple organizations other than the UIL [University Interscholastic League],’ King boiled down what it means for athletics, where home-school students would be allowed to compete for a school within the public school attendance zone where they reside. 

“It would turn into a recruiting war,” King told the News-Journal. “We already have what I would call ‘super teams’ with kids moving in and people finding any reason in the world for a kid to transfer. Some of that can’t be proven but we all know it’s happening. You put this in place and then it’s going to be no-holds-barred, open Pandora’s Box and would not be good for high school athletics. It will be an ‘I want to go to that school because they’re good at this or that.’ It would be a mess.” 

The bill passed the Texas Senate in April 2017 and has been referred to as the Tim Tebow Bill, as the former NFL and University of Florida quarterback competed with public school as a home-school student.

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.