HUDSON COUNTY -- As already revealed in sportswriter Jim Hague's column three weeks ago, the decision to eliminate athletics at the county's public high schools wasn't only spurred by a need to save money. Some were whispering that the recruiting or luring of athletes from other local public schools had irked local mayors. Overt recruiting on the high school level is illegal.
In Hague's May 2 column, "The true story about the end of High Tech and County Prep athletics," he noted, "Officials cited a $4.7 million budget deficit created by Gov. Chris Christie’s massive cutbacks in educational costs statewide. But make no bones about it. The athletic programs were given the death knell by the local leaders, the mayors of the municipalities who were tired of the county schools pilfering the top student/athletes from the local districts and putting them on the rosters at High Tech and County Prep..."
But there was more:
"Apparently, one mayor found out about a prospective athlete ending up at one of the county schools who allegedly didn’t go through the proper channels – like filling out the proper applications or earning the proper acceptances through the necessary minimum grade requirements. The application process was possibly circumvented by an active coach at one of the county schools. That was the last straw."
You can read more here.
Today, NJ.com reports:
"Hudson County Schools of Technology Superintendent Frank Gargiulo dropped a bombshell yesterday at the freeholders meeting when he admitted that an athlete was recruited to play for one of the county schools, County Prep. Parents had complained that money was never the issue. Instead, they say, allegations of the recruiting of players was behind the move to eliminate sports at the schools. Freeholder Albert Cifelli, of Kearny, questioned Gargiulo on whether that claim had been investigated. Gargiulo admitted in one case an athlete was solicited from another district, which is a violation of New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association rules. The NJSIAA is the governing body for high school sports in the state."
Local parents of county public school students are still making their case that their children shouldn't suffer and that the financial savings would be minimal if these programs are eliminated. For more, click on www.hudsonreporter.com for updates, and see the print editions this weekend.