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Burzichelli to Introduce Bill to Stem High School Sports Transfer Concerns

(3rd LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Assemblyman John Burzichelli on Tuesday announced he’ll be introducing legislation to ensure students attending a choice school district only play interscholastic sports on sending district sports teams, unless the sending district does not offer the sport.
The bill will be designed to combat increasing concerns about transfers in New Jersey high school sports. It would provide that a student who attends a choice district who wishes to participate in interscholastic athletics is required to try out for and compete on an interscholastic sports team in the sending district.
The student would only be eligible to try out for and compete on an interscholastic sports team or squad in the choice district if the sending district doesn’t sponsor an interscholastic sports team in the sport in which the student wishes to participate.
Under current rules effective Sept. 1, 2013, a student who enrolls in a choice district must wait 30 days or half of the maximum number of games in the sport, whichever is less, before becoming eligible to participate on an interscholastic sports team in the choice district.
“This restriction does little to address the issue of student athletes transferring to choice districts for athletic advantage,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland).
“The purpose of the public school choice program was to increase educational opportunities for students, but the law has had the unintended consequence of allowing some scholastic sports teams to achieve dominance by eliminating the competitive balance between schools.”
Burzichelli noted choice schools are able to draw student athletes from a wide region that extends well beyond the region of their competitors.
“This provides choice schools with a clear athletic advantage,” Burzichelli said. “This was not the intent of the law. We need to put a stop to this transfer issue before New Jersey high school sports becomes the haves-versus-the-have-nots.”