Former Prep Running Back on Parochial Football Change: ‘This Should Have Happened Years Ago’
Changes could be coming in South Jersey high-school football.
As Mike Gill reported earlier today, the NJSIAA will propose a split of the public and parochial schools, for football only, and present that for general membership for a vote of approval in December.
The changes would take place for the 2016 football season.
The parochial schools, or non-public schools, would then join a division made up of strictly those schools in as many as six divisions featuring 37 schools, according to Phil Anastasia of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Those divisions would be decided based on geography, enrollment and strength of program.
Three schools in the Cape-Atlantic League would be impacted by this change including: Holy Spirit, St. Joseph and St. Augustine. Five more from the West Jersey Football League would also be impacted: Bishop Eustace Prep, Holy Cross, Gloucester Catholic, Camden Catholic and Paul VI.
"I think it's a great move for the CAL schools to play other NJ privates, it gives the chance to showcase our talents," Harris said.
Harris also will tell you that this is a long time coming and should have been proposed years ago.
"I think it should have. It makes for great football and powerhouses."
Harris will graduate from St. Augustine Prep this year and plans to continue his playing career for a Division-III college.
Officials from public schools arent too worried about such a dramatic change, either.
"More power to them if that’s what they have to do to bolster their programs, I'm not worried about that," Oakcrest head coach Chuck Smith told The Press of Atlantic City.
It's been tough competition for public schools against parochial schools because of the recruiting aspect the parochial schools can enroll players from multiple cities throughout the area.
The three parochial schools in the CAL have dominated their league schedules for the past several seasons, boasting a 59-10 record against public CAL schools the past three seasons.
In the new proposal, cross-over games would still be permitted so a storied Thanksgiving Day rivalry like Atlantic City and Holy Spirit could still be played.
The Press of Atlantic City has floated the possibility of the WJFL accepting the 14 remaining CAL schools to create a mega conference in the coming years. A similar proposal was rejected last season by the WJFL due to the worry of those three parochial schools.