State law could give N.J. schools a loophole to create ‘super teams’

Jonathan Wall

The New Jersey law, called the Interdistrict School Choice Program, started off as a way to give parents the opportunity to move their children to a new school -- without cost or penalty -- if they were unhappy with their current public school system. But in the past couple months, the law has turned into a potential nightmare scenario for state officials.

The idea, which seemed like a good one on paper, took a negative turn this year after kids started taking advantage of the new transfer rule by leaving their respective school to form "super teams" at various schools throughout the state.

Even though the rules state the transfer must be done within 20 miles of the child's district of residence at another "choice program," that hasn't stopped a couple of schools from copying the Miami Heat's blueprint and loading teams up with top talent. While the "super teams" haven't become a statewide issue yet, officials have already noticed a rash of moves this year to a few schools.

"We are going to be monitoring this situation very closely," NJSIAA attorney Steve Goodell told the Asbury Park Press . "Nobody wants choice schools to be an avenue to create super teams."

Despite the pleas to play by the rules, the athletic programs at Bound Brook are making the most of the loophole in the system. As the Asbury Park Press noted, "five starting wrestlers and seven (four starters) of the boys basketball team's 12 players are choice school transfers."

Two of Bound Brook's basketball players, who played on the same AAU team, signed transfer waivers this summer stating they were moving for academic reasons -- even though their AAU coach was a "volunteer" with the Bound Brook team.

If that entire situation sounds fishy, don't worry, you're not the only one questioning some of the transfer moves.

NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko said the association has yet to receive formal complaints regarding choice school students transferring for athletic advantage, but said he has received anonymous phone calls and correspondences alleging impropriety.

And without a 30-day transfer rule in place, Bound Brook doesn't have to worry about eligibility hearings or schools crying foul. Every move that's been made this season has been done by the book.

With players now moving for athletic reasons, you have to wonder how long state officials will allow this to continue before they make some revisions to the law.

Want more on the best stories in high school sports? Visit RivalsHigh or connect with Prep Rally on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Other popular content on the Y! network:
ThePostGame: Big-time sports agent details his downfall
New Jacksonville Jaguars owner takes shot at poor NFL fans
Tight NBA schedule causing injuries; just ask Dwyane Wade
Shine: How well behaved are your kids?

What to Read Next