By Phil Anastasia
EDISON, N.J. -- A proposal to strengthen the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association's transfer rule was voted down by the general membership on Monday.
By a 139-98 margin, the schools in the association that attended the annual meeting at Pines Manor shot down a proposal that would have required student-athletes who transfer without a change of residence to sit out for 45 days and also to be ineligible for tournament competition.
"I thought it was punitive," said Haddonfield athletic director Lefty Banos, who voted against the proposal. "I think there are better ways."
Mainland athletic director Mike Gatley, a member of the NJSIAA's executive committee and the president of the Cape-Atlantic League, voted in favor of the proposal.
"I'm disappointed," Gatley said. "We've still got a lot of work to do in dealing with this issue (transfers)."
Under current NJSIAA rules, a student athlete who played on the varsity at his old school and doesn't change residence must sit out 30 days, effective from the first game, at his new school.
The proposal presented by administrators from Jefferson Township and Vernon Township high schools would have increased the sit-out time by 15 days, banned transfers from state tournament participation and also applied to all student athletes, even those that did not play at the varsity level at their previous school.
"I think there was a lot of concern about that," said NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko, referring to non-varsity athletes being subjected to the same transfer rule.
In explaining the proposal to the general membership before the vote Monday morning, Jefferson Township athletic director John DiColo decried the increase in transferring for athletic advantage.
"We want to pick up the paper and read about a team winning a championship with their own kids," DiColo said.
Vernon Township athletic director Bill Edelman, a co-sponsor of the proposal, said transferring was the "hottest topic nationally" in high school sports
Timko said that the transfer issue was tops on the agenda for the organization's recently re-convened Public-Non-Public Committee, which is to submit a report with recommendations to the Executive Committee in March.
"We dealt with this nine years ago and it's a bigger issue than it was nine years ago," Timko said.
In another vote, the membership approved a proposal to change the way a school's enrollment is calculated to determine group size.
Starting in 2015-16, enrollment will be defined as the sum of a school's population in grades 9, 10 and 11.
Previously, enrollment was determined by the sum of the population in grades 10, 11 and 12.
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