Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Big North Puts Non-Publics in Bind

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Big North Puts Non-Publics in Bind

Article excerpt

The Big North Conference told its non-public members Wednesday to go play football somewhere else.

The 41-school conference voted, 31-7, (three schools weren't present) at its general membership meeting to give relief to the four public schools still slated to play games against three non- public schools in 2015.

Those four, Pascack Valley, Passaic Tech, Old Tappan and Wayne Hills now likely will meet the first week of the season, Sept. 4, with the former two and latter two facing each other.

To fill out the gaps in the football schedule of three of the five non-public schools in the Big North United Division: St. Joseph, DePaul and Don Bosco, those schools were given a second game against one another.

That's right, home-and-home matchups in regular-season high school football.

The Green Knights take the hardest hit, having to play Don Bosco and DePaul twice. St. Joseph's athletic director Tony Karcich said Wednesday he did not want to comment.

DePaul athletic director Joe Lennon said on paper, with a few tweaks, the schedule does work, but called it "bad paper."

"I've never seen teams play each other twice [in football] in the regular season," said Lennon. "It's just not a viable thing. I've been doing this 45 years. It's just not healthy playing twice, unless you're in the playoffs -- that's a different animal."

Lennon said he would continue to explore options to find games and it is possible the schools could find other opponents, but unlikely.

Paramus Catholic and Bergen Catholic, the other two members of the Big North United, have schedules without a public-school team from New Jersey, so were unaffected by the conference's decision.

The NJSIAA is reducing the number of playoff divisions for non- public teams from four to three in 2015.

Depending on where the dividing line is drawn, it's even possible Don Bosco and St. Joseph, or St. Joseph and DePaul could meet a third time.

That would be unprecedented in New Jersey high school football, but this has been an issue that reached a boiling point last fall as the competitive imbalance between public and non-public schools continues to widen. …

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