WAYNE, N.J. — New Jersey hasn’t had real spring football since the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League roamed the original Meadowlands and were owned by a low-key real estate developer named Donald Trump.
But a proposal being put together by St. Peter’s Prep coach and Super Football Conference President Rich Hansen would bring sanctioned spring football practice to New Jersey high schools, modeled after what much of the nation already does.
Hansen’s plan, which he said he is having vetted by multiple organizations, is to give schools the option of having an official period of practice for a few weeks in April and May. This would coincide with the NCAA’s open recruiting period, meaning that prospects could work out in front of college coaches.
“We had 114 colleges come in here last year,” Hansen said. “They couldn’t watch my kids throw a football or practice. Go to Florida, California and Pennsylvania and they have that opportunity.”
In return for the practice periods in the spring, Hansen said a school would opt out of any workouts in July.
“I think our [participation] numbers will go up. I think coaches will be healthier and I think it gives us really good value to the period that coincides with college recruiting,” Hansen said.
The debate over the high school sports calendar in New Jersey never ends.
The current three-season arrangement outlined by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association is antiquated in many ways because of the rise of specialization (one kid/one sport) and the desire for many high school coaches to work with their kids out of season.
That’s not to say it’s all bad. There is a lot to be said for the value of kids playing multiple sports and the thrill of representing their school in various ways.