Could Arkansas have a Tim Tebow at quarterback someday? Not unless the legislature passes a new law. Though unlikely, that's not out of the question. Florida did it, and such legislation has been proposed in other Southern states.
Tebow, the All-American and Heisman-winning quarterback at the University of Florida, was home-schooled before enrolling at the university. Under Florida law, he was allowed to play football for a high school that he didn't attend. That would not be allowed in Arkansas, where the eligibility rules for high school athletics are generally set by the Arkansas Activities Association, the organization of public and private high schools that field athletic teams. The AAA is unlikely to permit home-schoolers to play, since only a very few schools, if any, would ever benefit from such a rules change. Lance Taylor, director of the AAA, said that only 11 of the 50 states permit home-schoolers to play. Taylor said that Florida's requirements for home schools — curriculum, testing and such — are strict, “the toughest in the country.” Arkansas's regulation of home schools is the loosest in the country, he said. The legislature could overrule the AAA, but any such bill would be hard to pass, and, if enacted, would probably be challenged in court.
Elections are barely over, but political gossip about 2012 has already begun. Elsewhere in the paper, you'll read about Sen. Blanche Lincoln's re-election bid, potential opponents and other related matters. See John Brummett and the Arkansas Reporter.
Political insiders are doing a lot of talk, mostly idle, about the Second Congressional District. The pent-up demand to run for that seat is huge among both Republicans and Democrats — if U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder should happen to retire. He hasn't said he has any such plans, but many would-be contestants frankly hope that the recent arrival of triplet sons make the congressman more likely to want to stay home in Little Rock seven days a week.
If you believe barber shop chatter — and who wouldn't? — Snyder isn't retiring. He's quoted as saying on a recent trip to his favorite clip joint that the arrival of triplets means he can't afford to retire.
The Washington Post drew some unwanted attention to Elizabeth Eckford, a member of the Little Rock Nine. The Nine have been invited, thanks to U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, to be special guests at Barack Obama's inaugural. Eckford was quoted as saying she couldn't afford to go.
We checked in. Eckford, a Circuit Court employee in Little Rock, was just making a handy excuse. She told us that she wouldn't go, despite many offers to help her make the trip, because she simply didn't like being in large crowds. Eckford, who endured a famous lonely walk amid taunting segregationists in 1957, has long been the most private of the Nine. She's been somewhat more public in recent years, but her aversion to big crowds was well-known to aquaintances.