New UVA Athlete Speaks Out in Support of Tebow Bill - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

New UVA Athlete Speaks Out in Support of Tebow Bill

Posted: Updated: Jan 12, 2013 07:24 PM EST

Lawmakers in Richmond will once again consider the so-called Tebow bill. Albemarle County Delegate Rob Bell reintroduced it this General Assembly session. The debate surrounding the issue of home-schooled students playing high school sports continues to heat up.

Groups like the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) continue to argue against the Tebow bill. But a new University of Virginia athlete, who has experienced the impacts of the ban firsthand, is telling his story in support of the legislation.

Patrick Foss, 18, is getting settled into his new dorm room at UVA. He is one of the Cavaliers' newest soccer players.

"When I was choosing schools, it ended up coming down to Virginia and Maryland. But I just didn't want to play with a Maryland flag on my sleeve," Foss said.

But his journey was a little different than most of his teammates. Foss and his eight siblings were home-schooled most of their life. They are his inspiration for supporting the Tebow bill.

"I also have six younger siblings, so I was thinking 'oh yea what if they don't want to play soccer, what if they're football players and basketball players,'" Foss said.  It's really important to play high school sports if you want to go to college to be a Division 1 athlete, and so I said I want to get involved in this."

The bill would allow home-schooled athletes to play sports in Virginia's public schools. But opponents argue there are lingering questions.

VSBA Executive Director Barbara Coyle said, "There's insurance, there's staffing, there's the safety of the students and there's the academic requirements. So there's a number of different variables there that would have to come into play and worked out long before you could have that participation."

The VSBA released a final report expressing opposition to the bill. They have held multiple discussion groups in the past year to discuss what's best for students.

"It's just you have at the end of the day, when the legislation is passed what's really best for the kids in Virginia and we feel that at this point in time, until some of these other variables could be resolved, that there's major issues blocking that piece of legislation from passing or should be passed," said Coyle.

Foss disagrees, and says he feels the pros outweigh the cons.

"I would just say I'd ask everyone to look at it themselves and just see," said Foss. "Does this seem like a fair situation? Do these kids pay taxes, do their parents pay taxes? Can they be academically equal or above? Really just look at it level-headed."

Bell and Virginia homeschool organizations emphasize the bill would just make it optional for high schools to allow homeschool students on their teams.

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