Football: NJSIAA changes direction on N-P playoffs

In a surprise move, the NJSIAA has decided that non-public football teams will be able to play for state championships for at least one more season.

NJSIAA associate director Jack DuBois, who oversees football, said Tuesday that the state association will not make any changes to the playoff system for non-public teams until the 2013 season at the earliest.

The development means that programs such as St. Joseph of Hammonton and Camden Catholic, which are expected to be among the top teams in South Jersey next season, will be able to compete for state championships.

St. Joseph won its third consecutive state title last season in Non-Public 1. Camden Catholic lost to Holy Spirit in the Non-Public 2 state title game.

DuBois said the NJSIAA plans to keep four groups in non-public competition.

“It’s a good thing,” said Camden Catholic coach Gil Brooks, whose team should be a strong contender again in Non-Public 2. “Everybody always likes to talk about going to states and this feeds into that.”

 DuBois said proposed change to the system, which was expected to be approved by the NJSIAA’s executive committee on Wednesday, now will need to pass through legislative channels before implementation.

DuBois said the proposal, which eliminates state championships for non-public football and creates sectional championships, would be reviewed by the NJSIAA’s advisory committee on Wednesday.

If passed by the advisory committee, the proposal would be submitted to the executive committee in May.

If passed by the executive committee, the proposal would be put on the ballot for vote by the NJSIAA’s full membership in December. DuBois said a majority vote by the full membership would be needed to pass the proposal, which would go into effect for the 2013 season.

“This is a bylaw repeal,” said DuBois, noting that the NJSIAA has held championship games for non-public football since 1993. “It has to go through the same legislative process as other changes to bylaws.”

When the proposal was submitted by the football committee in February, DuBois said the executive committee could approve the change in the playoff system in April and that the new system would be in place for the 2012 season.

But DuBois said NJSIAA legal counsel Stephen Goodell reviewed the proposed and advised that the change pass legislative channels.

-- Phil Anastasia