ROBBINSVILLE Red Bank Catholic would be willing to play one of the North Jersey nonpublic football powers if it would help four North Jersey leagues form a superconference and eliminate the possibility of a statewide nonpublic football conference, Joe Montano, RBC’s athletic director, said Wednesday.
“If our conference (the Shore Conference) allows us to play one game (against a North Jersey school) and that helps the North Jersey schools out, we would be open to it,” Montano said. “We would play whomever they want us to play.”
Montano said Red Bank Catholic has been asked by officials from the planned superconference if it would be willing to play a game against a member of that conference to help solve scheduling issues the proposed superconference is having.
If Red Bank Catholic agrees to the request, it would have to petition the Shore Conference, and the conference’s executive committee would have to approve the request, Montano said.
The Shore Conference does the out-of-division schedules for each of its 43 football members. The Shore Conference also has an scheduling arrangement with the Greater Middlesex Conference for nonconference games, especially with the smaller schools in each conference.
The Big North Conference, Super Essex Conference, Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference and Hudson County Interscholastic League have all voted to form a superconference, beginning next fall, that would consist of 115 schools, 98 public schools and 17 nonpublic schools. That conference would consist of 17 divisions, 14 of them for public schools and three for nonpublic schools.
The so-called North Jersey Super Conference would include nonpublic powers Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic, St. Joseph (Montvale), Paramus Catholic, St. Peter’s Prep, DePaul, Delbarton, Pope John and Seton Hall Prep.
If the superconference comes to fruition, it would likely result in the NJSIAA Executive Committee voting on Nov. 11 to take the proposal by the NJSIAA’s special Public/Non-Public Committee to create a statewide, football-only nonpublic conference off the ballot at the association’s annual meeting on Dec. 7 at the Pines Manor, Edison.
If the Public/Non-Public Committee proposal were approved by the a majority vote of the membership, Red Bank Catholic would be playing a schedule against other schools in the nonpublic conference beginning next year. Montano said last spring Red Bank Catholic is against the statewide nonpublic conference proposal.
The Public/Non-Public Committee hopes to make the recommendation to the Executive Committee at its Oct. 27 meeting that the proposal for the statewide nonpublic football conference be taken off the December ballot.
However, Seton Hall Prep’s president, Monsignor Michael Kelly, said Wednesday at the Executive Committee meeting that “not everything is falling in place” for the superconference to be implemented.
“They’re working, but they’re not coming to solutions. We’re not getting a complete schedule,” Kelly said.
Kelly said Seton Hall Prep voted against joining the superconference when the Super Essex Conference voted to join it. He said Seton Hall Prep’s probable schedule in the superconference concerns him.
Seton Hall Prep would likely be in a division with Delbarton, DePaul and Pope John but would likely have to play some crossover games against the division containing superpowers Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic, St. Joseph (Montvale), Paramus Catholic and St. Peter’s Prep.
“We would be willing to play one of the big five, but not all,” Kelly said. “It would be brutal for the kids to bang heads with them week after week.”
Kelly had an extended conversation with Mike Zapicchi, the chairman of the Public/Non-Public Committee, and NJSIAA attorney Steve Goodell after the executive committee meeting about how the scheduling issues in the proposed superconference could be solved.
“We’re waiting for information from the superconference to see what they need to make a go (out of it),” Zapicchi said. “I don’t know how much participation they need from South and Central Jersey schools to make it work.”