WESTFIELD, NJ — With the Westfield High School Group 5 championship football game coming up at MetLife Stadium this Saturday, as well as many other fall season championship tournament games, the NJSIAA is reminding fans that all of the events that it sponsors are alcohol- and drug-free. In addition, it said, tailgating is strictly prohibited.
“We want all our fans, many of whom are minors, to have an enjoyable experience while attending scholastic sports competitions,” explained Steve Timko, the NJSIAA’s executive director, in a press release. “And that’s why we instituted specific rules that don’t allow certain activities and behaviors. All of our member schools are in agreement that we will not tolerate a few individuals enjoying themselves at the expense of everyone else.”
Dr. Derrick Nelson, acting principal of Westfield High School, sent information to parents explaining that students at the game who appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be subject to: their parents being contacted to remove them from the stadium; an immediate drug/alcohol screening to be completed; and disciplinary action per the WHS Code of Conduct and Westfield Public School’s Drug and Alcohol use at school-sponsored events.
The NJSIAA’s rules for event behavior clearly contrast with those for both professional and even collegiate sports, at which tailgating is often an institution and most venues sell alcohol, the organization said. The difference, Timko noted, isn’t just the age of the athletes who are competing.
“When you attend an NFL or Big Ten football game, for example, the entire environment is dedicated to fan entertainment,” he said. “But high school sports are different — even a state championship football game contested at Met Life Stadium is an extension of the classroom. And you don’t allow alcohol, drugs or tailgating at school.”
For information about tickets to the Westfield vs. Bridgewater-Raritan game on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m., click here.