The influence of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow has permeated the Alabama school system as the "Tim Tebow Bill" was approved by the House of Representatives last week.
The bill permits homeschooled children in Alabama to participate in sports together with local public high school players. Many states in the U.S. do not allow homeschoolers to play for their public high schools.
The Alabama High School Athletics Association has oppossed the bill, but the bill was passed with a 52-43 margin.
Tim Tebow is not involved in the bill in any way, but his name is attached to it because he is the product of homeschooling; he and all his siblings were homeschooled by their parents. This method of education gave their parents a chance to instill strong Christian values in them as they were growing up.
In 1996, a law, which eventually became known as the "Tim Tebow Law," was passed in Florida allowing homeschooled children to play for public high school teams in their district.
This gave Tebow the chance to participate in local sports competitions. When his family was still staying in Jacksonville, he joined the football team of Trinity Christian Academy as tight end.
When they moved into a new apartment in St. Johns County in 2003, he joined the football team of Allen D. Nease High School as a quarterback. Some people, unaware of the law, raised questions as to why he was allowed to choose which school to play for.
In 2007, Tebow was nominated for the Heisman Memorial Trophy Award, becoming the first homeschooler in the U.S. to receive such nomination.
In the same year, ESPN interviewed him when they did a feature for "Outside the Lines" focusing on homeschoolers who want to have equal access to high school sports activities. Tebow expressed his support in favor of granting homeschoolers the right to play for their local high schools.
He said in the interview that he considered it an honor to be nominated for the Heisman Award and to break the stereotype that people often have about homeschooled children. He said homeschoolers are often not viewed as athletic and are thought to excel only in spelling bees and similar competitions.
The Tim Tebow Bill, which is being considered in other states besides Alabama, seeks to give homeschooled youth the same opportunity to join athletic competitions as Tim Tebow had when he was being homeschooled in Florida.
The bill has also been approved in Texas where the number of homeschoolers has increased in recent years. Homeschooled children in the state can now have the chance to play for University Interscholastic League competitions.