Proposed Tim Tebow Act Would Allow Non-Public School Students Access to Interscholastic SportsFebruary 10, 2016 – Articles
SB 105 (a/k/a the Tim Tebow Act), could change the course of athletic teams in West Virginia public schools. In particular, SB 105 states, “The purpose of this act is to allow students instructed at home or by a private tutor or enrolled in a private, parochial or church school or a school operated by a religious order, to participate in extracurricular activities, including athletic teams, at public schools” providing requirements, standards and insurance coverage; and providing accommodating schools may not be impeded from competing against other schools.
This would repeal the 2005 West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruling in Jones v. Marion County Board of Education, et al., "that treating public and nonpublic school children differently with respect to participation in interscholastic sports does not violate equal protection." Based upon that ruling, and the rules of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC), students instructed at home or by a private tutor or enrolled in a private, parochial or church school or a school operated by a religious order, have been prohibited from participating in extracurricular activities, including athletic teams, at West Virginia public schools.
Of course there are a number of public education related bills introduced and likely to be introduced this session, but SB 105 in particular is worth monitoring given its impact on interscholastic sports.
Dinsmore’s Education Law Group has provided monthly alerts on a variety of topics over the years, including several on various issues relating to athletics in public schools. If you have any questions regarding this issue or any issue, always feel free to contact our Education Law Practice Group at Dinsmore.