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A little off the YAIAA grid here, but I found this story interesting -- and in a roundabout way, relevant -- enough to post.

Over in New Jersey, state assemblyman John Burzichelli is on an apparent crusade to end the NJSIAA, which is essentially that state's version of the PIAA. The democrat has accused the organization of wasting money and operating irresponsibly, and is proposing new system in which the state's Department of Education would oversee high school sports. The fate of the NJSIAA could hinge on the findings of a five-month, independent investigation of the organization's conduct. Meanwhile, the NJSIAA is hemorrhaging money, and says the restrictions on ticket prices championed by Burzichelli are a big reason why.

It's obviously a story with a lot of layers, including a "he said, she said" component that only further muddies matters. I highly recommend you read the Newark Star-Ledger's story here.

What the issue boils down to is this: Could a state-run athletic association be more effective than what New Jersey has in place? On this point I'm fairly dubious. This isn't about politics, it's about the simple fact that New Jersey's Department of Education has more important things to worry about than running a state volleyball championship (or football, basketball, or any other sport, for that matter). The article points out that organizations like the NJSIAA and PIAA exist solely to facilitate high school sports in their respective states, and many feel they are better-suited to respond to the requests and issues raised by their member schools.

In a state-run system, those requests might, as one athletic director says, be "swallowed up in the sea of bureaucracy."

If this investigation finds the NJSIAA is being improperly run and wasting taxpayer dollars? Then that's another issue. An overhaul would be in order. But to abolish the organization in favor of a state-run set-up seems a bit excessive.

This is a story worth watching, even if it doesn't directly pertain to Pennsylvania. It's a study of how fragile organizations like the NJSIAA and their revenue streams can be, especially in an unsteady economy.

These are issues that face the PIAA, even if they aren't as acute here as they are in New Jersey. By understanding this story, we can understand how to avoid similar problems in Pennsylvania -- now and down the road.

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