BURZICHELLI: NJSIAA SHOULD DETAIL HOW MANY HIGH PAID SCHOOL OFFICIALS GET FREE TICKETS

(TRENTON) — Assemblyman John Burzichelli on Friday asked the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association to publicly detail how many free tickets to this weekend’s championship wrestling tournament are going to people such as highly paid school officials.

The NJSIAA is giving away 2,700 free tickets for each of the four events at this weekend’s championship wrestling tournament in Atlantic City.

“Again and again we’ve heard cries of poverty from this organization as it’s repeatedly tried to overcharge New Jerseyans, so it shouldn’t hesitate to detail whether superintendents and principals are getting free tickets,” Burzichelli said. “Certainly some free tickets are valid, but I suspect we’ll see many being cozily handed to high-paid school officials who can easily afford them.”

Burzichelli was the sponsor of a 2007 law that recently took effect that bars the association from charging more for playoff tickets than it did for tickets during the regular season. The NJSIAA has ignored the law and twice been ordered by acting state Education Commissioner Bret Schundler to follow it.

Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem) is sponsoring a resolution asking the State Commission of Investigation to investigate the NJSIAA’s spending and operations. The measure was released Thursday by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee chaired by Burzichelli.

The NJSIAA has claimed it won’t earn enough money with the lower ticket prices, but Burzichelli said that even with the lower prices, it still stands to make more than $153,000 from the tournament this weekend, not including money lost through 2,700 complimentary tickets to each of the four events.

“Over the course of four days they’re giving away 10,800 free tickets,” Burzichelli said. “That’s a lot of lost money that — along with six-figure salaries and generous benefits to multiple top officials — doesn’t jibe with the NJSIAA’s repeated claims that it cannot make ends meet unless it overcharges New Jerseyans.”

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