The New York Times last month sent a reporter to Georgia to write a story on Glory for Christ Football League, a league made up of teams of home-schooled students.
The story made mention of the league's growth, and that it was driven in part by the Georgia High School Association not allowing home-educated students to participate on public school teams or to use their facilities.
Parents contended that as taxpayers, their children should have the right to play public school sports. They have since become more accepting of the GHSA policy, and instead have embraced Glory for Christ and the ability to make their own rules.
Home-schooled athletes and parents have always faced obstacles with playing organized sports, though 24 states allow home-taught athletes to play for public or private schools, according to the Times story.
Mac Bryan, who runs the CSRA Crusaders baseball program, is more concerned with finding games to schedule than with pushing for players to join public or private teams. As a home-school team that's not part of a league, the Crusaders can barely convince schools to play them, and haven't been able to convince private school associations to allow them to join.
"We can play the private schools, the ones that will play us," Bryan said. "But some of them think we have an unfair advantage. They think we practice all the time or something -- like our kids don't go to school or do any schoolwork."
It doesn't help that the Crusaders have been playing decent baseball. Opposing teams schedule the Crusaders as an exhibition, and when the Crusaders win, the next season's game becomes that much more difficult to schedule.
"As a home-school parent, education is most important," Bryan said. "Sports-wise, it would be nice if we could get into a regular schedule with public schools. It would be a lot easier to travel and schedule games. As it is right now, no one has to play us. We have to be really nice and almost sometimes beg for games."
One area where the home-schooled baseball players don't face many drawbacks from not having public access is in exposure. Unlike football, where the recruiting is based mainly on a player's performance on a high school field, baseball players make a name for themselves on the travel ball circuit.
Bryan said his son, Justin, who will be a junior, is receiving interest from a number of schools. And it's not for his performance as a Crusader.
Bryan said his youngest son loves football and would probably end up at a public school, because of the lack of options for home-school football in the immediate area.
Lions football players honored
Three Augusta Christian football players received accolades from the National Christian School Athletic Association.
William Banks, Jonathan Gibbs and Evan Wells were named to the organization's varsity football Southeast Super-Regional team.
Banks, who was a senior quarterback and tailback, will attend Georgia Southern University in the fall as a preferred walk-on. Gibbs was a senior who played offensive and defensive line and Wells, a junior, was named to the team as a wide receiver.
The NCSAA picked an All-American team from football players among its member schools and then picked players from "Super-Regions" throughout the country.
The NCSAA's National Coach of the Year was Tommy Lewis, of Hilton Head Christian. Michael Dyer, a junior running back from Little Rock, Ark., was the national offensive player of the year and Cassius Marsh, a lineman from California, was named defensive player of the year.
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