South Jersey's championship football games will be played in South Jersey.
As expected, the NJSIAA announced Monday that the four sectional title games for public schools will be held at Rowan University the weekend of Dec. 2-3.
“Based on its location in the southern part of the state, Rowan is the ideal location for these athletic contests,”
NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko said in a statement.
One game is expected to be held on Friday night, Dec. 2, with a triple-header set for Saturday, Dec. 3. Fans who buy a ticket on Saturday will be able to watch all three games.
In a related development, acting commissioner of education Chris Cerf ruled that the NJSIAA must lower ticket prices to football championship games.
"A great win for New Jerseyans," said state assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), a frequent critic of the NJSIAA and author of a law that limits the organization's ability to raise prices for tournaments.
The South Jersey title games, which will determine the sectional champion in Groups 4, 3, 2 and 1, were scheduled to be held at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, Mercer County.
Rowan became available when a construction project of the football program's locker-room facilities was postponed.
“It was always our first choice for the South Jersey Region contests," Timko said. "The overriding factor impacting the decision to relocate games from the other partner schools was our commitment to our student athletes, member schools, and fans, and we’re delighted everything worked out this way."
Cerf ruled that the NJSIAA can charge $5.50 for adults who attend the football championship games at Rowan and Kean, a drop of 50 cents from last season's prices. The NJSIAA had hoped to charge $8.
Cerf also ruled the NJSIAA can charge $9 for adults who attend the football games at MetLife Stadium and Rutgers, the same price as last season. The NJSIAA had asked to be permitted to charge $10.
Students and senior citizens are charged $2 to attend the games.
“While additional communication with the Department of Education is pending, the initial ticket pricing structure we
received is sufficient to enable us to continue holding championship competitions," Timko said. "However, if not revised, this level of pricing could very well create hardships related to several other important initiatives.”
-- Phil Anastasia