TRENTON - The NJSIAA is considering cutting some state-championship events because of a projected budget shortfall of nearly $900,000.
Steven Timko, executive director of the NJSIAA, said the cuts might be needed because state regulations are preventing the NJSIAA from charging enough for tickets to cover the expenses of staging the events.
"That's the bulk of the expense for the association," Timko said Friday. A salary freeze and layoffs also are on the list of cost-cutting ideas under consideration by the NJSIAA board of directors, he said.
The Star-Ledger of Newark reported Wednesday that the NJSIAA might do away with individual state championships and the Tournament of Champions and Meet of Champions in team sports.
A final decision is expected Wednesday when the NJSIAA is scheduled to adopt its budget for the next fiscal year.
State Assemblyman John Burzichelli, a Democrat from Paulsboro and a vocal critic of the association, said he has another way to save costs: cut the salaries of Timko and other association officials, which he says are above the $90,000 range for its six directors.
"I shouldn't have to decide whether or not I can afford to go to my son's basketball tournament because your salary' is out of step with what the business is doing," Burzichelli said.
In 2007, state lawmakers passed a law sponsored by Burzichelli that restricts the prices NJSIAA can charge for tickets to state tournaments and championships. The NJSIAA claims it lost $341,000 in revenue in the winter sports season alone as a result of the legislation.
Timko says Burzichelli's criticisms are unfair.
"I don't see how somebody who really has no idea how this organization runs could tell the association they should be cutting four directors, for example," Timko said.
The NJSIAA runs 32 championship tournaments and collects a membership fee of $2,150 from 433 schools, Timko said.
According to a 2009 NJSIAA financial statement, its boys' and girls' basketball tournament expenses are nearly $345,000. Given those expenses, Timko said more. than 60 percent of the organization's income has to come from ticket sales and other sources of revenue.
Last month, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling for an investigation of NJIAA's practices and spending. The Senate is expected to pass a similar resolution.