Football: Pennsauken appeals WJFL alignment to NJSIAA


By Phil Anastasia

Pennsauken High School has appealed to the NJSIAA in protest of the West Jersey Football League's new division alignment.

Pennsauken athletic director Billy Wright confirmed Monday that he sent an email on Friday with his appeal to NJSIAA director Jack DuBois, who oversees football for the state association.

DuBois on Monday confirmed receiving Wright's appeal. DuBois said Allentown also has appealed to the NJSIAA in hopes of changing the WJFL's new alignment.

"It's on our radar," DuBois said. "We just got these so we'll take a look and go from there."

The NJSIAA traditionally leaves alignment matters to individual leagues so it's unclear that the governing body of New Jersey high school sports would get involved in the matter.

Wright said he wasn't confident that the NJSIAA would address the issue but felt compelled to submit the appeal on principle. He also said he might appeal next to the NJSIAA's executive committee.

Wright said he appealed the alignment to WJFL officials when the WJFL first confirmed the new divisions in December.

Wright said his appeal was shot down by WJFL officials by a 14-0 vote. Cherry Hill East's appeal of the new alignment also was rejected.

The WJFL formally announced its new alignment last week.

Wright based his appeal on two procedural points. He said the WJFL used last year's school enrollment figures because the state department of education had not yet released the enrollment figures for the current school year.

Those most recent enrollment figures were released in the last couple of weeks.

Wright also said that Lenape was moved north to the Colonial Division out of the American Division because of "proximity" to schools in Mercer County but that Pennsauken has a "Northing" point that is north of Lenape's "Northing" point.

Each school's "Northing" point under the Global Positioning System is used by the NJSIAA for group alignment.

Wright said the WJFL "unfairly" broke up both the National Division and the Valley Division in the new alignment.

The National Division, of which Pennsauken is a member, lost three schools in Shawnee, Winslow Township and Triton and added three schools in Timber Creek, Delsea and Hammonton.

Wright said the new National Division, which includes holdovers Pennsauken, Kingsway and Clearview, is a "super-division." Wright noted the past success of programs such as Timber Creek, Delsea, Hammonton and Kingsway as well as Pennsauken.

The Valley Division lost three schools in Hopewell Valley, Nottingham and Allentown and added three schools in Princeton, West Windsor North and West Windsor South.

Wright said that in the most recent two-year scheduling cycle, the National and Valley divisions were two of just three divisions in the league in which half of the members claimed a share of the championship.

His appeal said the divisions were being "unfairly penalized for exhibiting the very thing we seek, competitive balance."

Wright's appeal also noted that Delsea was "skipping" over the Constitution Division to join the National Division.

Wright said the other National Division schools have an average enrollment of 1,101 -- 29 percent higher than Delsea's enrollment of 856.

In his appeal, Wright suggested that the WJFL retain many of its changes but make these adjustments to its division alignments:

-- Keep Lenape in the American Division;

-- Keep Shawnee in the National Division;

-- Move Rancocas Valley to the American Division;

-- Move Seneca and Cherry Hill East to the Colonial Division;

-- Move Delsea to the Constitution Division.

DuBois said NJSIAA would discuss the matter this week.

"I really can't comment on it at this time," DuBois said.

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