ROBBINSVILLE, NJ – The Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) will continue to host the boys’ basketball state finals and the Non-Public North A and B section final games in 2016, according to a press release from the NJSIAA.
Previously announced changes to the boys’ basketball state championship schedule, specifically the relocation of the event to Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, were reversed on Monday after successful negotiations with Rutgers University led to a new agreement between the NJSIAA and New Jersey’s largest public university.
“We're glad things worked out and we'll be able to bring the games back to Rutgers this year,” NJSIAA's executive director Steven Timko said. “Rutgers proved to be an accommodating partner.”
While Rutgers does not charge the NJSIAA a rental fee for the venue, they do bill the state’s governing body for high school sports for event staff, security and other expenditures, according to Rutgers’ Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications Kevin Lorincz.
“To help reduce expenses, use of the state-of-the-art video board will be scaled back and event staffing will be adjusted with a focus on cost savings. While the NJSIAA works to increase attendance and revenues, we are committed to working with them to reduce expenses in a manner that will not impact the player or fan experience."
Aside from a “scaled-back” arena experience, the NJSIAA also received approval from the Department of Education to raise ticket prices to the event, as mandated by state law.
In previous years, adults paid $5 per ticket, while students and seniors paid $3. Beginning this year, adults will be charged $8 per seat, while student and seniors prices dropped to $2.
However, the new agreement and price structure does not guarantee Rutgers and the RAC will continue to be the event’s home in future years.
“The new pricing structure will allow NJSIAA to stay at Rutgers this year, but does not allow us to attain projected revenues and make a long-term commitment to the venue,” Timko added. “We continue to work with the Commissioner of Education and with Senator (Raymond) Lesniak, who has been in discussions with all parties about keeping the games at Rutgers. We remain hopeful that we'll be able to transition from a net-loss to a more economically sustainable event.”
The NJSIAA Boys Basketball Tournament kicks off February 29, with the boys final set for Sunday, March 13, 2016.