March 6, 2009 — Star quarterback Tim Tebow plans to return to the University of Florida for his senior season thanks to a deal that allows his missionary-father to accept donations for his orphanage in the Philippines, the Miami Herald reported.
Florida coach Urban Meyer said on Thursday that Tebow “would not be our quarterback any longer” if the NCAA hadn’t worked with the Tebow family, the University of Florida and the Southeastern Conference ”to help interpret and apply” NCAA bylaws in a way that would allow Bob Tebow to accept contributions for the orphanage.
According to the NCAA, the orphanage, known as Uncle Dick’s Home, is no longer supported financially by the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, which Tebow’s father leads. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to serve in the Philippines with “five major priorities: evangelism, church planting, pastor training, an orphanage and the training of the next generation of evangelists,” according to its Web site.
A link to the orphanage can be found at the ministry’s site. But “all donations to the Uncle Dick’s Home go directly to the orphanage and not to the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association or the Tebow family, and no member of the Tebow family serves on its board of directors or staff,” the NCAA said in an e-mail to the Miami Herald. “As a result, donations to the orphanage (or any other nonprofit entity) from the university or its boosters are allowed under our bylaws.”
NCAA bylaws prohibit student athletes or their families from receiving benefits that aren’t generally available to any student. The NCAA said it did not grant UF and the Tebows a waiver but worked within the parameters of current NCAA bylaws.
If the NCAA had not worked with the Tebows, Tim Tebow likely would have declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft, the Miami Herald reported.
“My reason for coming back wasn’t to win another championship, which we’re trying to do, or to go higher in the draft,” Tebow said. “It was to have an impact on today’s youth, something that most athletes don’t ever take the time to think about. It’s not about me. It’s about, who can I help?”
An outspoken Christian, Tebow is the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy and helped the Florida Gators win two national championships. He is spending his spring break next week in the Philippines, participating in a mission trip with his dad’s ministry.
To read more about Tim Tebow’s faith, click here.