On Monday, in my weekly work session with a few of my classmates, the topic of the Equal Access Act was being discussed. It was interesting to get the different viewpoints from the members of the group, as we pondered the pending vote on House Bill 947. Known as the “Tebow bill”, this new legislative policy would open the door to those referred to as “non-public” students to access varsity athletics in our secondary schools. As the “high school” representative in our group, I thought I was fairly knowledgeable on the topic, but my colleagues further enlightened me. Since my career as an athlete ended in my college days, and my coaching career wrapped up more than five years ago, I had lost touch with the growing impact of AAU and other outside leagues on high school athletics. Colleges now routinely recruit from teams outside of the varsity high school team setting. Not only is it a time-saver, but it is cost-effective. Scouts and recruiters can go to one tournament and see ten times the players they might see in the traditional setting. This fact made me wonder why parents of homeschooled students would have any interest in pursuing the passage of such a bill, until I took into consideration that there are some sports in which recreational leagues have not made yet inroads, namely football.
Today, the Virginia General Assembly is going to vote on House Bill 947 and many are awaiting the results of that vote with baited breath – parents, students, coaches, and, certainly, the Virginia High School League. Depending on the outcome, high school sports may see a whole new challenge and it may become an even more political game than ever before. If you are interested, here is the link to the legislative info system which will provide more on the subject: