For the first time it appears New Jersey is on the verge of joining the rest of the country and crowning overall public school group champions in football. 


Wednesday the executive committee of the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association voted overwhelmingly to allow its full membership to vote this December on a constitutional change which would open the door to expanded football playoffs as early as 2014.

Currently we crown 20 public school and 4 non-public sectional champions and for years proponents have been trying to find a way to play things out a bit further.  The issue that will be voted on calls for the deletion of a sentence in the NJSIAA constitution that bans overall group champions in football only.

While we’ve been there before a major change should lead to a successful passage this time around.  If two-thirds of the members who vote on December 2nd are in favor of the change then it will go through, previously it was two-thirds of the full membership and with many no-shows it made for a greater challenge.

While this does not call for a specific playoff plan it appears the most popular proposal being discussed would result in the season starting one week earlier and still ending the first weekend in December.  In addition schools could still play traditional Thanksgiving Day games although many have moved away from that in recent years.

Penn State Coaches Caravan

Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien (YouTube)

While Penn State calls it a Coaches Caravan it was clear the majority of the 220 alumni, supporters and fans who gathered at the Edison Ballroom in New York City Wednesday afternoon were there to meet and hear football coach Bill O’Brien.  I should know because I was among the faithful in attendance as part of a group of six that included former Nittany Lion lettermen Ron Signorino Sr. and Sam Stellatella.

Sam as he usually does, organized the trip to the city, and we sat right in the front and listened to O’Brien, basketball coach Pat Chambers, men’s volleyball coach Mark Pavlik and field hockey coach Char Morett.  It was mainly a pep talk for support of the school and its athletic programs and O’Brien was clearly the star of the afternoon.

I did get to speak with him for a few minutes and he was glowing in his comments about middle linebacker Glenn Carson, a former Southern Regional standout.  Carson, who graduated last week, will return for his final season of eligibility after spending this summer as an intern with the State College Spikes, a minor league baseball team.  He’ll have another local guy on the roster in incoming freshman kicker Chris Gulla of Toms River North.