N.J. Schools Shoot Down Plan for State High School Football Championships
New Jersey won't be crowning overall group state champions in high school football in 2014 or 2015 after a proposal was overwhelmingly voted down on Monday, per the Press of Atlantic City.
At a general membership meeting of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association on Dec. 2, member schools voted 183-95 to leave the public high school football playoff structure untouched. The proposal needed approval from at least two-thirds of the member schools to pass.
"I think the membership spoke loud and clear that it wanted to maintain the current structure of the championships," said Steve Timko, the executive director of the state association, per The Record. "All of New Jersey seemed to be on the same page today."
Currently, the playoff structure of the NJSIAA awards sectional championships—South, Central, North I, and North II—to public high school football teams. Those teams are divided into five groups, based upon their schools' overall enrollment size.
The new proposal, which was originally introduced in September, would have eliminated the regional championships and allowed the state's 300-plus public high school football teams to compete for five overall group state championships.
According to the association, New Jersey is only one of two states that lacks overall group championships for high school football. All other NJSIAA sports crown overall group champions, not sectional group champions. The 38 non-public member schools have been crowning a group state champion for the past two decades, according to the association.
"Here in New Jersey, we have a reputation for being trend-setters across the spectrum of interscholastic sports," said Timko in a statement in September. "In fact, we have more championship tournaments than any other state. But with football playoffs, we're out of sync with what has become the national norm of playing for groupwide championships."
For at least two more years, New Jersey will remain out of sync with that national norm. Per NJSIAA bylaws, the playoff-altering proposal cannot be re-introduced for the next two years, according to The Record, leaving it off the table until December 2015.
A similar proposal came within 23 votes of passing two years ago, reports NJ.com. Several athletic directors told the website that it's unlikely another attempt will be made to change the playoff structure after such a "resounding defeat" this time around.
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