New Jersey separates public, private school football

December 8, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
Members of the New Jersey athletic association voted Monday to separate public and private school football leagues, a decision that will take effect with the 2016 season.

footballThe state’s 37 non-public football schools will still be allowed to play against public schools, but they will no longer compete in the same league. St. Peter’s Prep Athletic Director Rich Hansen has called a meeting with other private schools to discuss a plan for how they will move forward with the upcoming season, according to The Record.

From the article:

“Our plan is for seven or eight divisions throughout the state, with crossovers – some cross-regional crossovers, some within your region. But everybody would get eight or nine games,” Hansen said. “Everybody who wants less, can take less.

“But the idea would be to create a schedule for varsity football and create a regional schedule for sub-varsity football, so travel wouldn’t have to be experienced from the far South to the far North on all levels.”

Expect resistance from other non-public schools throughout New Jersey, possibly even lawsuits. It was clear from Monday’s proceedings that there were schools not in favor of the proposal.

To Hansen, the potential complaints about travel and competition almost seem counterintuitive to the athletic mission. Why wouldn’t you want to play in the non-public league?

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association didn’t appear to believe a lawsuit was likely. Of the association’s 345 members, 215 cast a ballot in favor of separation.

Competitive balance is typically at the heart of the public-private school debate, and here it’s no different. The article notes that six of South Jersey’s non-public schools played 45 games against public schools this year and won 41 of those contests. Oftentimes, the argument from public schools is that private schools are able to recruit athletes.

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