NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The New Providence Board of Education (BOE) amended its Athletic Competition Policy (#2431) at its Thursday, March 29 meeting. The policy change will allow the district to limit high school sports team participation when the number of participants becomes too large. The policy will affect 2018-2019 teams.

The Ad Hoc High School Athletics Committee chaired by Board Member Mary Misiukiewicz was formed in January. Superintendent David Miceli, Athletic Director Vincent Carangelo, Board Members Bernadette Cuccaro and Joseph Walsh also serve on the committee.

The committee held its first meeting on Jan. 19 to review the existing policies and to discuss the number of student athletes as well as the safety and management of teams. At the conclusion of the meeting Carangelo was asked to contact all team coaches regarding the ideal number of participants for team management. He was also asked to survey the middle school sports participation numbers and students’ athletic interests once they move up to high school for planning purposes, Misiukiewicz explained.

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At the subsequent meeting on Feb. 8, Carangelo reported his findings back to the committee. Misiukiewicz said that the high schools boys’ basketball program had 60 participants this school year. Next year when the current eighth graders enter the high school as freshmen there will be 82 basketball players and the year after, the number of participants is expected to grow to over 100 students. The committee agreed that these numbers are too high for safety and development of student athletes.

According to Misiukiewicz, the committee discussed how to best marry the existing no cut philosophy, which promotes students participation in athletics as well as the benefits of team work and sportsmanship, with the anticipated cuts. The district understands the valuable, enriching beyond class room education, experience which comes with participation in team sports. “We circled around back to the safety, management and development of all our students because we have larger numbers of participants than we have ever seen,” she said. The participation numbers are only getting larger, she added. The committee discussed how best to ensure the safety of student athletes when programs are “oversubscribed,” she said.

The third committee meeting was held on March 6. At this meeting, the committee reviewed the proposed new policy language. The committee is recommending that when the participation numbers for freshman, JV and Varsity levels become “challenging”, the superintendent with the collaboration of the athletic director and head coaches will determine how many student athletes are permitted on a given team.

Misiukiewicz added that since the incoming seniors have been able to participate with a no-cut policy for the past three years, the committee is suggesting that they be grandfathered onto their respective teams next year.

Miceli noted that if a student athlete is cut he or she can try out again the following year. All students can also continue participating in off-season sports.

With regard to other athletic news the district approved a two-year continuation of the cooperative ice hockey program with Governor Livingston High School. Carangelo noted that after the next two year period the joint program will likely not be renewed.

Additionally, the district approved the Salt Brook School PTA’s offer to form an After School Running Club for grade 4-6 students.