Monday morning, the athletic directors and football coaches of Bergen County will converge on Paramus Catholic High School to listen to the new proposal that would place 70 schools that play football in six Bergen County conferences in one "super league," guaranteeing schools of equal enrollment size the opportunity to play against each other.
These changes would have an impact on the two local schools, namely Secaucus and Weehawken high schools, which may reside in Hudson County geographically, but play all sports in the Bergen County Scholastic League's National Division.
The athletic directors at both schools, Weehawken's Richard Terpak and Secaucus' Stan Fryczynski, both have some reservations concerning the radical transformation, eliminating all existing leagues - and only for football for a two-year trial period.
"I am torn about it," Terpak said. "Although I think it's an equitable plan, I understand the dilemma some schools have, facing new opponents, having to travel to different schools. I'm not totally opposed to change. Sometimes, people get locked into tradition. I think I have to learn more about it. I know some people in our league have the same concerns that I do."
Added Terpak, "In principle, it's a fair, equitable package, but you tend to get comfortable with what you have. We have been members of the BCSL for a long time now and we're comfortable. I have mixed emotions about it."
Fryczynski has more of a dilemma. Not only does he serve as the athletic director at Secaucus, but he is also the president of the BCSL.
"Speaking for the league, we don't have a position on the proposal yet," Fryczynski said. "The league had a preliminary meeting and heard the preliminary report [from the proposal's author, Herb Cohen of Northern Valley/Demarest], but there was only a discussion. There wasn't a straw poll taken. It wasn't brought to a vote in our league, so it's difficult to say what will happen."
However, wearing the hat as the athletic director at Secaucus, Fryczynski has a different perspective.
"The proposal has been discussed with our superintendent of schools, our principal and our football coach, and we're opposed to it for numerous reasons," Fryczynski said. "Our league is not broken, so there's no need to fix it. There is already a competitive balance in our division and by and large, the entire league."
Fryczynski said that the proposal also only addresses football and he has plenty of other sports to concern himself with.
"It's a league that offers us competitive balance in all sports," Fryczynski said. "In our opinion, why do we want to break up a division that we're comfortable in? Seventy schools are being asked to totally revamp what they do for one sport. To ask the whole deck of cards to be shuffled might be a little too much. Maybe it needs to be tweaked a little, not totally revamped."
There is another obstacle that may make the entire process moot. The BCSL American Division's athletic directors have already voiced their displeasure with the proposal, citing that they like things just the way they are. For the proposal to pass, all six leagues would need to approve the changes, so the proposal could be dead in the water before it ever gets a chance to be voted upon.
In any case, the two local schools will wait to see what transpires, both at Monday's meeting and in the future. - Jim Hague