Sayreville, N.J., canceled the rest of its football season on Monday because of an ongoing criminal investigation regarding harassment and bullying. While the outcome of the investigation may take a while, the impact is immediate on the school and its opponents. USA TODAY High School Sports talked with Steven Timko, the executive director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, about the Sayreville situation.
Will the remainder of Sayreville’s games be counted as forfeit wins for the opposing teams?
“Yes, but those will come from the conference. We will be in touch with the Greater Middlesex Conference and they will forward all forfeits.
How does that affect the playoffs? In the case of the teams that have already played and lost to Sayreville, will those now be considered wins?
“No. Sayreville’s upcoming opponents, such as Piscataway, will now get residual points from the teams that Sayreville defeated. It’s really not going to have an adverse effect on our playoff points system.
Pending any legal outcome, is it possible the NJSIAA would also levy penalties on Sayreville?
“The only thing I can say is, at this point, we are in communication with the administration of Sayreville and there’s still a lot of information that’s coming in. At first look, it would appear to be an internal issue. Traditionally, if it happens internally, it remains an internal issue. If it happens to affect another member school or competition, then we would have a role. We are monitoring the situation.”
Have there been similar situations in recent years?
“We’ve had schools that have canceled seasons because of personnel issues, not having enough players, but not because of an investigation.”
Does the NJSIAA have any written policy regarding bullying on sports teams?
“Yes. We do address bullying as part of our sportsmanship policy. That starts on page 45 in our constitution and bylaws. We also have an added part that deals with race, religion and ethnicity.”