The NJSIAA is considering major changes to its policy regarding transfer student-athletes.
The new proposal, approved by an advisory committee Wednesday, would allow one free transfer for any student, as long as it happens before his or her senior year – and before the season starts.
Chief Compliance Officer Paul Papadiuk said he reviewed more than 7,500 transfers statewide over the past three years to determine who goes where and which schools receive the most transfers, among other factors.
The proposed transfer rule would apply to all student-athletes, whether they play varsity or not. It’s designed to be gender-equal — more girls than boys play freshman year varsity, according to Papaduke — and across schools and roster sizes, as more students are at Group 1 schools. and 2 are playing varsity as freshmen by necessity. .
Under the proposal, the current transfer rule — a 30-day sit-out — would remain in place for future transfers. Papadyuk said that over the past three years, 242 student-athletes have moved more than once.
“The NJSIAA transfer rule is heavily criticized and often contested,” Papadiuk said. “Our existing transfer rule is based on the traditional family model and does not necessarily reflect the realities of our student-athletes. It is based on a bona fide change of address system, which we believe is too easy to manipulate and is biased against those with the means to circumvent the rule… This will make it easier and fairer. Kids will take that first step for whatever reason, and they usually stick.”
Under the proposal, retirees who choose to transfer must sit out 15 days or one-quarter of the games remaining in the season.
The proposal will be discussed and voted on at the next executive committee meeting in January and, if approved, will go to a vote of the full NJSIAA.
The NJSIAA advisory committee also wants to “put more teeth” into its anti-recruiting policy, according to Papaduke.
Another proposal, which won unanimous support Wednesday, would have no violations in kindergarten through eighth grade enrollment. However, once a student-athlete spends a single day in a high school classroom or attends an athletic practice, Papadyuk said the NJSIAA will “monitor the adults who participate, the coaches who do so, or the responsible adults under them. . . . That child is already will not be punished.”
Are New Jersey basketball players ready for prime time?
The reigning NJSIAA boys and girls basketball teams may get another chance to compete.
Hackettstown AD Bob Grause and new Morris Knolls AD Pat Bruner presented a proposal at Wednesday’s NJSIAA executive committee meeting to allow New Jersey teams to be invited to the ESPN State Championships Invitational.
The NJSIAA, open to any high school state champion basketball teams across the country, will receive $2,500 for having its teams considered. If the team is selected, they will receive an all-expense paid trip to the tournament as well as $2,500 for the school. The NJSIAA will receive an additional $7,500.
NJSIAA Executive Director Colleen Maguire would not comment on the pending proposal, but said, “We believe in the integrity of the event.”
A waiver from the NJSIAA will be required for teams to practice outside of the regular competition season. Eight-team tournaments are usually held in late March or early April.
The proposal was unanimously approved on Wednesday and will be given a second reading in January.
“With the level of high school basketball in New Jersey, I think we’re going to have programs that are going to be invited,” Grause said. “It’s not going to happen every year, but it’s going to be once in a lifetime for these kids and the program.”
More news from Wednesday’s meetings
∎ The team wrestling championship will be held on February 12 at Rutgers. The competition was held at Franklin High School last season and before that at RWJBarnabas Health Arena in Toms River.
District and regional organizers will be announced this week. The reorganization proposal will be available in May.
“In 2019, we started talking to them and then the COVID season started,” Maguire said. “I’m really excited for the fight there, great Sunday.”
∎ During the fall, 250 reports of unsportsmanlike conduct were filed, 65 percent related to football. About 60 percent are student-athletes, 26 percent are coaches. The NJSIAA adopts a program by the National Federation of State High School Associations to deal with fans and coaches who misbehave during high school sports.
The NJSIAA has already launched an officer shortage program that includes a $300 rebate to each new certified official who joins an NJSIAA-recognized chapter.
∎ The advisory committee did not support Newark Lab High School’s proposal to allow co-op teams between charter schools.