Written by 3:29 am Uncategorized

NJSIAA: Legislation targets transfer students

Assemblyman: Choice public schools are mimicking non-publics

South Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli plans to take a shot at the growing issue of transfers in high school sports with proposed legislation aimed directly at athletes who transfer into choice schools.

Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, plans to submit legislation as early as next month that would require those athletes to play interscholastic sports for their sending districts unless that district does not offer the sport.

“We created the choice-school program for academic advantage, not for athletic advantage,” Burzichelli said Tuesday. “When the playing field becomes unlevel, we lose all the benefits that we were looking for from interscholastic sports.”

The bill would combat the meteoric rise of certain choice-school programs that now mimic non-public schools in the association with a wide area in which to draw students, such as the controversial rise of the Bound Brook wrestling program into a state power in recent years.

Burzichelli said his proposed legislation wouldn’t affect non-public schools because they compete separately from public schools in the postseason in most sports, unlike choice schools, which compete for state titles in the public groups.

“[Non-public schools] have always been treated differently in how they’ve been grouped separately,” Burzichelli said. “And maybe eventually that’s the way we might have to go by cordoning off choice schools with each other.”

Burzichelli said he’s waiting to introduce the bill to allow the Department of Education to explore whether it can address the issue through its rules governing choice schools.

Steven J. Timko, the executive director of the NJSIAA, issued a statement directed at the assemblyman’s proposal: “From the inception of New Jersey’s Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, NJSIAA and its members articulated concern about the program’s potential consequences related to interscholastic sports, including the formation of what some have called ‘super teams.’ We look forward to working with all stakeholders, including Assemblyman Burzichelli, to help address this situation.”

The NJSIAA executive committee also will hear a proposal next month by two of its member schools to require athletes who transfer from public schools to non-public or choice schools to sit out 45 days of the season and the postseason rather than the current 30 days. Athletes who transfer from non-public or choice schools would not have to sit at all, eliminating the 30 days for those students.

The executive committee will decide whether to put the proposal on the ballot in December for the association’s full membership to consider.

Email: schutta@northjersey.com

Visited 1 times, 1 visit(s) today