A recently formed public/non-public committee made some eye-opening recommendations to the NJSIAA yesterday, including one that would force athletes to sit out an entire year instead of 30 days if they transfer, in an effort to ease the growing tensions between some public and non-public schools.
Among the recommendations:
Athletes who transfer - and do not change residences with their parents or guardians - should sit out for one year before they are allowed to participate in that sport in their new school.
In the current format, an athlete must sit out 30 days if he/she had lettered in that varsity sport at his/her old school. The committee recommended to increase the "sit-out" time to one year, even if the athlete did not receive a varsity letter at his/her old school. The athlete would have to sit out a year as long as he/she played the sport (regardless of the level) at his/her previous school.
The NJSIAA's Executive Committee will discuss the recommendation at its February meeting and probably vote on it in March, according to Bob Baly, an NJSIAA assistant director.
In order for the measure to pass, two-thirds of the voters would have to favor the plan.
Baly noted that, if the one-year sit-out period was approved, athletes would have a chance to file an appeal. He said the one-year sit-out period could be removed if an athlete and his/her family could prove that the transfer was not for athletic advantage and that it was for financial reasons.
In the current 30-day format, no appeals are granted, Baly said.
The NJSIAA should form a committee to look into realigning leagues to create more equitable competition. A school's size and geography would also be taken into consideration in the alignment.
In all likelihood, Baly said, the committee will recommend some leagues merge, some leagues alter their alignment slightly, and some leagues remain the same.
On the heels of a narrowly defeated vote Monday that would have forced parochial and public teams to have separate leagues in all sports, a realignment plan apparently would affect North Jersey leagues more than South Jersey.
Several public schools in the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League believe they cannot compete with parochial powerhouses Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic and St. Joseph Montvale, particularly in football. That prompted the league to present a proposal that would have placed New Jersey parochial and public schools in separate leagues in all sports.
The plan was rejected, 186-178.
Baly said the NJSIAA has the power to order teams to change leagues.
The NJSIAA will comply with the public/non-public committee's request and will form a committee by early January, Baly said.
"And they will encourage leagues to realign voluntarily, and if not, they'll execute the power to realign the leagues," he said.
The NJSIAA should hire an investigator for allegations of wrongdoing, such as a transfer giving a phony address.
"As it is now, we have to rely on the member schools to investigate," said Baly, adding he didn't know whether the NJSIAA could afford to hire an investigator.
Baly said the public/non-public committee would "continue to investigate ways we can relieve some of the tensions that have grown between the public and non-public schools."