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Association Ignores New Law Reining-in Playoff Ticket Prices

(TRENTON) — Assemblyman John Burzichelli on Tuesday expressed outrage that the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association is blatantly ignoring a new law he sponsored to rein-in high school playoff tickets prices.

“This is an arrogant, dishonorable and flagrant violation of state law and an insult to the parents, families and supporters of high school sports throughout our state,” said Burzichelli (D Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “I’m just astonished that the NJSIAA fully understands this law, yet chooses to blatantly ignore it. This is deceitful and unacceptable.”

The 2007 law took on Jan. 29, just in time for high school wrestling tournaments.

Under the law, the NJSIAA is allowed to increase ticket prices during playoff matches only if the games are played in a venue outside a high school stadium with the authority of the Commissioner of Education, but Burzichelli said the group still increased tickets prices for wrestling tournaments held in high school facilities.

“They had three years to get ready for this law, knew it was coming and still disregarded it,” Burzichelli said. “The law isn’t a joke. I expect it to be followed, and this is no time to be increasing ticket prices on hard-working New Jerseyans.”

Burzichelli first drafted the law in late 2004, following complaints from high school football fans outraged that tickets for NJSIAA playoff contests in South Jersey cost more than double what some schools charged for regular season admission.

The new law was designed to control excessive spending and ticket-pricing practices by the management of the NJSIAA, a voluntary organization made up of 425 accredited public, private and parochial high schools in the state.

The law prohibits New Jersey’s school districts from joining sport associations that charge exorbitant ticket prices for playoff competitions, increase licensing fees for broadcasts of playoff games or require schools to pay excessive membership fees.

“I have asked the Department of Education to put this runaway group, the NJSIAA, on notice that their relationship with our public schools is now in jeopardy,” Burzichelli said. “I will not allow a situation to exist in which parents, families and supporters have to think twice about attending a sports competition because the cost of tickets has been set too high in violation of state law.”

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