Tag: group champions

OPINION – Play on to Group Champs: Why Article IX doesn’t matter

by Mike Pavlichko

On January 6th, there’s an important vote that will take place in Robbinsville, or at least virtually on line.

At stake is the future of the high school playoffs in New Jersey, and the apparent growing desire to play down to overall group champions among public schools, something only two states in the entire nation – this one and New York – don’t do.

Article IX of the NJSIAA Constitution says the following:

The Association may award trophies and prizes in such sports as deemed advisable, and determine State or District championships, when, in the judgement of the Executive Committee, it is deemed feasible and possible. No state championship, however, shall be declared in football.

Until 2018, the state playoffs only crowned sectional champions among public schools. From 1974 through 2011 there were 16 sectional champions, with four sections (South, Central, North 1 and North 2) in each of the four groups.

In 2012, a fifth group was added.

In 2018, the NJSIAA decided to move one step closer to playing for group champs, playing “bowl games,” which in 2019 became “regional championships.” It was a roundabout way of saying “a semifinal game with no final.” Fun, to be sure, but generally pointless.

It’s like watching a basketball game, and leaving when overtime tips off because you want to beat the traffic. You just don’t do it.

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